I want to share a very powerful quote with you today.
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.
~Lewis B. Smedes
The key to why forgiveness is so important to find happiness is in this one little quote. What you’ll find out once you start practicing forgiveness is that it is very freeing. The strange thing is that we don’t even realize how much the pain, anger, resentment, and grudges we hold in when we ignore forgiveness hold us back. By choosing to be resentful towards the person who’s done us wrong, we create our own little prison that keeps us trapped in those negative feelings.
When we make the conscious decision to forgive and put in the work and effort it may take to reach true forgiveness, we find that we’re setting ourselves free. Looking back, it doesn’t come as that big of a surprise, does it? One of the most common misconceptions about forgiveness is that it is always about the other person. We tend to think that when we forgive, we’re freeing the person we’re mad at. We think that they are feeling bad and hoping for our forgiveness. While there are certainly times when that’s the case, more often than not, they don’t even realize how much they’ve hurt us.
They’ve long moved on and don’t waste another thought on the matter. In the meantime, we’re sitting here, stewing, and holding on to our anger.
Because we hold on to anger and grudges, we can’t move on. We can’t get to a point where we let go of those negative feelings. And since we’re so wrapped up in anger and pain, we’re missing out on all the good stuff around us.
Forgiveness can fix that. Forgiveness often isn’t about making the other party feel better. It isn’t about letting them get away with something, accepting them, or even bringing them back into our lives…. Far from it. You can forgive someone for your own sake and still chose to have nothing further to do with them. You can chose to let them back into your life without loving them the same way you have before. The point is that you have choices when you embrace forgiveness. The ball is in your court and you decide how to move forward. Maybe that means having them be part of your life in one form or another. Maybe it means never speaking to them again. It doesn’t really matter. The important part is that you cut the ties that gave them power over you and how you felt. They no longer cause you anger and pain and that’s a very freeing feeling.
ACTION FOR TODAY:
Pick up your journal with a clear, level-headed mind and go through the names you wrote down. Which of these relationships should be mended? What incidents need to be addressed before you move on? Keep note of those people.