FORGIVE FOR A BETTER LIFE

Forgiving others is essential for spiritual growth.  Your experience of someone who has hurt you, while painful, is now nothing more than a thought or feeling that you carry around. These thoughts of resentment, anger, and hatred represent slow, debilitating energies, according to Dr Wayne Dyer, that will disempower you if you continue to let these thoughts occupy space in your head. If you could release them, you would know more peace.

Forgiveness has the power to free us from our past, dissolve negative feelings and bring us peace, hope and joy. It can even release us to fulfill our potential and turn our lives around for the better.

The internationally renowned self-development author and speaker Dr Dyer, has a deeply personal story on forgiveness, which led to an amazing shift in his life as narrated in the introduction of one of his recent books.

His father had abandoned him when he was an infant. Consequently, his mother, who was just 22 and had two other boys (all her sons were under the age of four), had to place them in foster homes. He grew up hating his father.

In 1974, Dr Dyer found out his father had been dead for ten years from cirrhosis of the liver from alcoholism. He decided to visit his father’s grave in Biloxi, Mississippi and upon arriving, stood there for three hours. He stomped on the grave and was still angry, but in the last few minutes of his visit something came over him.

He said to his father: “From this moment on I send you love, and I forgive you for everything that you have done.” When he walked away from his father’s grave that day, he said everything in his life started to change. “That act was, without question, the catalyst for moving me into a new life of abundance and love.”

What is Forgiveness?

According to Dr Fred Luskin a pioneer in forgiveness training methods and the resulting health benefits, says “Forgiveness is the feeling of peace that emerges as you take your hurt less personally, take responsibility for how you feel, and become a hero instead of a victim in the story you tell.”

He explains that forgiveness is not condoning the behaviour of someone who hurt you, and it is not the same as forgetting, or having to rejoin with the person. He also says that forgiveness is not giving up claims to justice or compensation. Forgiveness, as Dr Luskin says, is learning to make peace when you did not get something that you wanted in life.

A Chinese proverb says, “He who seeks vengeance must dig two graves: one for his enemy and one for himself.” The cost of not forgiving someone and seeking only revenge or remaining angry can mean the difference between being miserable and being happy.

Dr Dyer believes that mankind’s need to forgive is a monumental misconception. The belief that others should not have treated us the way that they did, he says, is the “ultimate absurdity.” Instead of being angry at the way we were treated, regardless of how horrible we have assessed it to be, we need to learn to view that treatment from another perspective.

“They did what they knew how to do, given the conditions of their lives.” The rest of the things we carry around with us are ours. We own it all. If it is hatred and judgment, then that is what we have elected to carry around with us and that is what we will have to give to others.

You have literally given control of your life to those to whom you have judged to have wronged you. Learning to forgive involves learning to correct the misconception that you have created in your own thoughts.

Once you have your thoughts cleared, you will assume total responsibility for yourself, including how you are treated, and you will get yourself to the point where forgiveness is no longer something that you must practice.

You will have corrected all of your misconceptions and eliminated the three sources of your discontent which create the need to forgive in the first place: blame, revenge, judgment.

Blame

If we are unable to forgive those we perceive as having wronged us at some time in the past, we need to look at the decision to blame them for our unhappiness. Blame runs rampant in our culture, and very likely it runs just as out of control in your life. Most people are unwilling to take responsibility for their own lives.

This mindset of assigning responsibility to others for our life circumstances and misfortunes is the product of an attitude of blame. The more you have exercised it in your life, the more likely you will find forgiveness difficult to practice.

You must be completely honest with yourself if you are ever to rid yourself entirely of blame. The way to begin is to take total responsibility for everything that is in your life right now. Say to yourself, “I am the sum total of my choices up until this moment.”

Discard all the excuses that blame others for your life circumstances and look at your life from a different perspective. Everything that has happened to you is a lesson you can be grateful for. Everyone who came into your life was a teacher, regardless of how much you choose to hate and blame the person.

There truly are no accidents. The universe is working perfectly and unfolding as it should. All those situations, including when you were a small child contain immensely valuable lessons for you to absorb and benefit from, lessons blocked by feelings of hate and blame.

The absurdity of blame is that it gives other people control over us at the moment of their dastardly deed, and continues to give them control over how we interact with others. “We become prisoners without hope of achieving a higher sense of awakening and happiness for ourselves.”

Revenge

Revenge is the acting out of the thoughts of blame. Blame is in the mind, and revenge is acted out in form. The acting out part immobilises those who choose revenge as a lifestyle, and violates the most sacred sacrament available to us: “Thou shall not kill.”

Every day we hear of people who have been wronged somehow and of the desire to exact revenge on the perpetrators. Families of victims are filled with anger and motivated by revenge. Hate flourishes along with demands for punishment similar to the pain inflicted on their loved ones.

Yet even when that penalty is carried out, the victimised continue to feel the pain, suffering, and hatred. “They poison their souls with debilitating anger, and cannot continue their lives free of this unwanted pain. They are victimised not only by the criminal, but by their need to exact their revenge.”

Judgment

Judgment means to view the world as we are, rather than as it is. It is impossible to avoid judgment completely, because virtually every thought has some judgment to it. But you can significantly reduce the amount of negative judging that you do, and this is a kind of forgiveness that will help to improve the quality of your life dramatically.

Creating a New and Better Life

When Dr Dyer forgave his father, he created a more peaceful and better life. To think that this man who has inspired millions through his life’s work could have spent years in anguish over his father, while experiencing average results in his life is inconceivable. His huge success and contribution to humanity may not have happened unless he forgave his father.

Think about how you may be sacrificing your gifts, talents, strengths, success and quality of life to hold onto anger and pain. Could you be taking your life to new heights by forgiving someone? Forgiving someone can have a profound change on a person’s life as it did with Dr Dyer’s. With the words, “I forgive you,” a new and better life path can be created not only for your benefit but perhaps the benefit of many.

 

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