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May 23, 2012 / Man in the Mirror

What I know about…forgiveness

I found this article written by Marina Cantacuzino, founder of The Forgiveness Project, in a magazine. I thought it was well worth sharing some of what she had to say:

  • Through my work, I’ve seen many inspiration, shocking and moving stories of people who’ve been through tragic events and who still manage to find the strength to forgive the person who has caused them.
  • But while it’s easy to have a short fuse in such charged situations, it’s important to embrace the spirit of giving that comes with the season (Christmas) and to learn to let go of grudges.
  • To forgive is never easy – it can be costly, consuming and exhausting, and of course its nature will depend on the situation and the attitude of the individual trying to forgive. But it is always healing. One you find yourself able to cease feeling resentment, it can set you free.
  • Some people wonder, ‘Why bother?’ But if we don’t learn to let go, it can leave us lost in a downward spiral, trapped in the past. Emotional wounds can’t ever fully heal until you’ve learned to move forward. Some people worry that by forgiving someone, you’re saying you don’t care about what happened and that you’re giving up. In fact, it’s quite the opposite – it’s giving yourself another chance at living. Allowing the past to swallow you up will only poison your mind forever, and you don’t want your life to be defined by what you’ve gone through. Choosing to forgive someone should always be just that – a choice. Forgiveness should never be an obligation, because the moment we feel like it’s something we have to do, that’s when we begin to resent it, and it loses the power it can achieve. People don’t always choose to forgive and that’s okay – they can simply choose to let go of the past and move on instead, recognizing its value in saving you from yourself.
  • So how do we forgive? Acknowledge and accept what happened. Sit down and ask yourself if you really want to live like this and try to put yourself in the perpetrator’s shoes – no matter how much you might feel those shoes don’t fit. Think of your future and how much better life could be if you didn’t dwell on your hurt. Let go of your anger and resentment, choose not to think of yourself as a victim and let yourself be empowered by your decision. Eventually, you might even find compassion and understanding.
  • While I’ve been lucky enough to have never gone through any major traumas, I’ve had my fair share of hurt and have had to struggle to find it within myself to forgive. Sometimes, it’s the little things that help; take things one step at a time. If someone cuts you off in traffic or makes an irritating noise in the office, rather then get annoyed, take a minute to try and understand why they’re acting that way, then let it go. It’s a release, and your life will be all the better for it.

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