Saturday, October 30, 2010

National Forgiveness Day

October 30 is National Forgiveness Day. I didn’t even know we had a “National Forgiveness Day” until yesterday, but I’m glad we do.

In truth, every day should be a forgiveness day. Holding onto grudges, hurts and pain is not healthy physically, mentally or spirituality. Letting go of the past, however, is not always an easy thing to do.

Take being a victim of child abuse. I once heard about a woman in her 40s whose life was a mess. She was unable to maintain an intimate relationship, couldn’t hold a job and seemed constantly angry at the world. She blamed all her problems on her child abuse. When questioned further about it, however, it came to light that she had not endured years of sexual or physical torment from adults. What she referred to as the reason for her life of misery amounted to being touched inappropriately on her thigh by an uncle while fully clothed…once…when she was four years old.

While admittedly a traumatic event, she had built a life of failure and disappointment on this one incident. When it was suggested she forgive her uncle, now long dead, she refused saying she could never forgive that horrible act and it would be the reason her life was miserable. As we know, the Universe only says “yes” to our words and beliefs. Given that she was unwilling to change her thinking there was little to do.

The woman refused forgiveness because she didn’t believe her uncle deserved it. That’s not the point. The point is that she deserved the forgiveness. Holding onto hate and disappointment with others only creates a psychic link between them and us. It doesn’t punish the other person one bit. The only person suffering is usually us.

Learn to “forgive as you go”, just as it is the habit of many of us to “pray as we go”. No matter how bad the situation looks, consider the possibility that everyone involved in the situation in question did the very best s/he could at the time. Could things have been different? Probably. Instead of fretting about the past, think about changing the future by altering our response or participation in what happened so that it doesn’t happen again. Then, let it go. If you feel you can’t, then write that person’s name on a piece of paper and place it on hold (in your freezer), or in a “God box” (somewhere you consider sacred that you can give it to God to handle). If we give it away, it’s no longer ours.

Make it a goal to forgive at least one person today. You don’t have to tell them, unless it’s appropriate. We are One, so on some level there will be a change in your relationship with them anyway. Can’t think of anyone? No problem. Starting with ourselves is a great place to begin!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Dr. Terry

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