Many of Humanity’s greatest profits have preached about forgiveness though out our history, yet this is still a concept that we struggle with today. In light of that, I would like to talk to you today about how you can learn to use forgiveness as a way of life.
First let us define what forgiveness is. According to Wikipedia:
“Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.”
This means that when someone commits an act against you that you do not like, you do not hold it against them and wish them ill will in return. This does not mean that you agree with the actions taken by the other party or even saying that they are okay, it just means that you will not hold those actions against them. Forgiveness also is very closely aligned with the Golden Rule and will help you to live by it.
Start With Yourself
While it is very important to learn to forgive others, I firmly believe that the process starts within yourself. Typically when the issue comes into play it is because someone did something that upset you and caused negative emotions to brew to the top. So the first step is to let go of those negative emotions by forgiving yourself first. It is only at that point that you can move on to be able to forgive the other party involved.
A good example of this from my own life is dealing with “road rage” while driving. With almost always having a decent sized commute to work and back over my career I have come across many a times where I have gotten very upset with other drivers on the road. Curse words blare out, arms begin to flail and an overall unease of self would ensue.
Now as I have been working on enlightening myself I have learned that more often than not it was just a mistake from the other driver and not done intentionally. So whenever something happens and I feel the negative emotions rising up, I am quick to forgive myself for getting upset and also forgive the other driver as well.
What I have actually done in the above example is to put myself in the other driver’s shoes and see it from their perspective. We all make mistakes when driving, a missed turn signal here, a forgot to look that way there. So I do my best to keep that in mind and it helps me to transmute those negative feelings into much more positive ones.
Now that you understand how and why to forgive yourself, let’s take a look at forgiving others and why it is so important. The main reason is that it helps us stay in a positive state of mind versus a negative one. Secondly and just as important, is that it is the tool that allows us to break negative cycles.
There are many negative cycles that are dominating our world right now, such as War. Right now on a world level there is the War on Terror, but in reality it is a vicious cycle that will not solve itself until forgiveness can be brought into the equation and used to break the cycle.
Think about it for a minute. Every time a “terrorist” is killed, many more are created. Why? Because that person had a family of people that loved them and now find themselves seeking revenge. This will continue on forever and only get worse if left unchecked.
This is what makes forgiving others so hard at times. We have been raised in a world of these cycles as if they were just a normal part of life. Yet we have the power to stop them and to learn how to grow together through forgiving each other. Once we break the cycle of violence or whatever negativity it is, we are one step closer to not only an enlightened mind but an enlightened race.
A Way of Life
With all of this in mind and also knowing about the Golden Rule, you can see why it is so important to learn forgiveness as a way of life. The more of us that can walk this particular path, the more likely we are to start breaking the vicious cycles that are tearing our world apart. The more cycles that we break the better place the world becomes and we will reach a more enlightened state.
Remember that bad things do need to happen in our lives for us to really know and understand the good things that we enjoy the most. There is always a Silver Lining to every dark cloud or that moment of clarity where we are able to learn from that situation. With learning how to forgive mixed in with that, you will be a leader to a much more positive world.
Share Your Experiences
I invite you to share your experiences here with us so that we can all learn from each other and prosper. How has forgiveness played an impactful role in your life and what were the benefits of it? Please share with us in the comment section below.
If you are interested in learning more about how to forgive yourself, check out this E-Book.
James W D