Before we dive into the more hands-on content of this 21-Day Challenge, I think it’s important that we’re on the same page about what forgiveness is. Tomorrow, we’ll talk a little more about what it isn’t, and then we move into a discussion about why forgiveness is important.
Forgiveness can mean a lot of different things to different people, and in different situations. Forgiveness is the decision of letting go of bitterness, resentment and thoughts of revenge. This could mean forgiving them for harsh words or unkind actions. It can also mean that we forgive a debt. That debt could be emotional (someone owes us a favor for example), or material and monetary (forgiving the $20 owed to you).
Throughout this 21-Day Challenge we’ll be focusing on the emotional forgiveness. In many ways, it’s much easier to forgive a material debt than an emotional one. In those cases when we have a hard time forgiving a material debt, chances are it’s because strong emotions are involved as well.
Take for example the many cases when siblings start to fight and drift apart while dividing up their parent’s estate. Those fights and arguments aren’t really about who gets mom’s china or dad’s toolbox. It’s much more about dealing with loss, hanging on to the memories of loved ones, and making sure you get your “fair share” of that legacy.
Forgiveness then is the act of forgiving someone for something they have done to you. It’s about letting go and being able to move on. It’s not about acting like nothing ever happened. Instead it’s about accepting the past so you can let go of it. It’s about living in the present and looking forward to the future. It’s about letting go of resentment so you have room to let in joy and happiness.
What it boils down to is this. Forgiveness isn’t really about the other person. It’s about you. It’s about taking back control of your life and your emotions. It’s about forging your own destiny.
Forgiveness really is a choice you have to make. How will you chose to deal with negativity? Will you allow it to take control over your life and how you feel? Will you allow it to shade everything else that happens to you going forward? Will you allow these bad memories to continue to play on an endless loop in your head?
Or are you ready to get back in charge, make the conscious choice to forgive, and thus take the power over your feelings and reactions away from the person who’s done you wrong? Are you ready to empower yourself and free yourself from the prison you’ve build in the name of justice and getting even?
I hope you do. Living a life of forgiveness means living a life filled with love, acceptance, and joy. It’s not always easy to forgive and forget, but it’s always well worth it.
ACTION FOR TODAY:
Time to slowly start letting it all out on paper in the journal. Someone still has you fuming even though it’s been weeks? Or maybe something said something that rubbed you the wrong way just a few days ago? Write their names in your journal. Tuck your journal in its safe spot for now.