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When we resist the urge to forgive, it is often because of an innate need within us to hold on. Our vision of our own identity is often intertwined with our anger over the things that we are unwilling to let go of. So, in letting go and forgiving, we must give up a piece of who we are. Understanding, or standing in awareness of this reality without judgment allows us to acknowledge that there is a part of ourselves that is doing us harm and must be let go—the first step toward this worthy goal.
Saying those words, “I forgive you” or “I accept you,” and meaning them, is often one of the hardest things for us to accomplish in our lives. Yet these words, uttered with sincerity, hold the key to freedom from the shackles that we place on ourselves through the harboring of anger. Find a scenario in your life that you’ve held anger over and would never forgive or accept in a hundred years. Ask yourself, “What do I have to gain personally by holding onto this anger? What is this anger teaching me? How is it making me a better person?”
When we meet with resistance within ourselves, it offers us a beautiful opportunity to take a look at ourselves and identify the things that need fixing. Ask yourself, “What is not in harmony and why do I hold on?” These questions provide wonderful learning opportunities to grow, expand and become more complete in our understanding of ourselves.
Identify a scenario in your life around which you feel emotional weight. Does it bring you joy or pain? Ask yourself what you would feel like if that weight were lifted. Who would you be if the emotions you feel concerning this issue were no more? The thing to remember is that all the issues we hold exist in our own personal perception of what happened. In other words, we make up our memories of what happened to suit our identity or ego at that time. Ask yourself if holding on to that rightful blame brings you personally a deep sense of peace? And if it does not, what would?
By accepting ourselves and others, we can let go of the guilt and fear that binds us. As we accept others for who they are, we accept ourselves for who we are. In general, we resist accepting ourselves because of the feeling—conscious or unconscious—that if we accept ourselves then all that we perceive as bad in us will be true and the last thing we want to be in this society is bad. We have been taught that being bad is going to make us outcasts, that society or our family will not embrace us or may even reject us, so we do every thing in our power not to be bad, to the point of becoming blind to the reality of who we are in order to avoid acknowledging the darkness in our nature. The irony is that we think that by not accepting it or seeing it, it does not exist! The reality is that it is with you all the time, coloring your every action. Accept the bad; it is only bad in our judgment and the best way to let it go is to embrace it as you would want society to embrace you. This resistance blocks us from fully using our gifts, from fully being our whole selves. And when it is accepted, harmony can then be restored within and the natural flow of life and the life force is restored.
Create some meditation time away from distraction where you will not be disturbed. Close your eyes and allow your breathing to take you to a deep calm space within...deeper...breathe...deeper. Ask yourself what am I not accepting about myself or refusing to forgive in others and what can I learn about myself here?
There are no right or wrong answers, just your answers given to you through your understanding at this time and your willingness to be totally honest with yourself. Do not write your answers down; simply trust that you will remember all that you need to.
The harmony that we feel within has a direct reflection on the world. Graciously giving to yourself in this way is part of accepting and recognizing all the different parts that make “you” up and working with them. Forgiveness and acceptance are powerful tools in healing both ourselves and the world.