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How Forgiveness Makes You a Pioneer of the Future
Andrea with her Dog Oliver
How Forgiveness Makes You a Pioneer of the Future
I used to believe that being forgiving was to be weak. I thought that by forgiving others I was allowing them to walk all over me and perhaps even win. I felt that holding a grudge was making me stronger and more powerful. Over time I learned that none of this was true at all.
The truth is that anger, resentment, and bitterness never brings about anything positive. Holding grudges does not accomplish anything of value. By holding onto anger we only cause our own pain, suffering, and misery. The time that we spend re-living past hurts is time that we could have experienced joy or happiness so as a result holding onto the grudge it is depriving us of moving forward and enjoying life.
Anger only attracts more to be angry about because they universe returns what we send out. I learned in therapy that like attracts like so if we are happy we attract more to be happy about and vice versa. Holding grudges keeps us stuck and prolongs our suffering. It steals the happiness and joy of the present and the future.
Over the last four years I learned a great deal about holding grudges and forgiveness from many personal experiences in my life. During this time I found it to be true that the Universe keeps giving us the right experiences to teach us what we need to know and master. During my childhood I learned some very bad habits from my dysfunctional Father. My Father was a master at holding grudges, keeping score, retaliation, and the blame game just to name a few of his bad habits that I picked up from him.
The universe must have decided that I was better than this and would learn the truth and importance of forgiveness and why it is necessary. I noticed that when I held onto anger, resentment, and bitterness that I would literally get physically ill. The longer I would hold onto it the sicker and weaker I would get.
Instead of making me strong and powerful like I thought it would holding onto the grudge only made me sick and very miserable. Over time I realized that I was giving my power away and allowing the individual that made me angry to control me. They were not the one suffering from my anger I was. They were free to enjoy life while I was holding the grudge and re-living the hurt every time I saw them or heard their name. They were not being punished but instead I was only punishing myself. They were off making new memories, doing what they love, and enjoying life while I was stuck in the past. I gave them the power and control over me and my life.
Over the last four years I have learned that forgiveness is not a sign of weakness but is a sign of strength. Only the strong can forgive and let go. Forgiveness takes practice and discipline.
Forgiveness is not something that you give to someone else. It does not mean that you are condoning their poor behavior or being a pushover. Forgiveness is a gift that you give to yourself and sets you free. It sets you free because you are no longer a prisoner of the past. It allows you to move forward and enjoy life.
As previously mentioned, forgiveness takes practice. After years of conditioning and growing up with a Father that prided himself on holding a grudge forgiveness did not come easily to me. It has taken a great deal of practice and patience. I still have not mastered it fully but are determined to keep practicing that until it becomes as easily as breathing for me.
When I am tempted to hold a grudge I remind myself of the wise words of Deepak Chopra “Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future.” I also remind myself that I am the one suffering and missing out on happiness. I am the only one that suffers from my anger. I am not punishing the individual who angered me but punishing myself. I am the one losing sleep. I am the one who is missing out on happiness and joy. I am not changing what they did to me or creating a better future for myself by holding on to the past. Instead of remaining a prisoner of the past, I choose to be a pioneer of the future and let go, learn from it, and move forward.
Forgiveness is a gift that I give to myself and not the offender. It does not mean that they are getting away with anything it just means that I am setting myself free and not giving them any further control over me. By forgiving I am choosing to be a survivor. I choose to live my life to the fullest. I am taking back my power and living my life.
Forgiveness does not mean that you have to keep the offender in your life if they are toxic. It just means that you are setting yourself free of any further pain, suffering, or any other toxic emotion.
The next time you are angry write down your feelings. Document what you feel in your body. Notice how your stomach and chest feels. Do you get a headache or does your neck ache? Do you eventually feel exhausted? I noticed that my immune system got very weak when I was angry for an extended period of time.
After I learned to forgive and let go my health improved. Not only did I feel happy and light but I also felt so free and alive! You have no idea how good it feels to be a pioneer of my future instead of a prisoner of my past! It feels amazing to be free! I now enjoy chasing my bliss and dreaming about my future. I now have the time to focus on what I want to bring into my life instead of obsessing about what was done to me.
My time is now spent on things that can bring me joy instead of misery and illness. Forgiveness is good self-care and necessary for a healthy and happy life. Forgiveness is like sunshine as it brings about happiness. Forgiveness is now my strength and my own special gift to myself. I now win by forgiving!