“Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” ~ Mark Twain
When I first heard this beautiful quote my heart skipped a beat, goosebumps arose throughout my body and my eyes began to tear up. Twain tells us that even when the heel of a foot crushes the violet flower, it still permeates its sweet fragrance.
Learning how to forgive yourself is one of the most important things you can do for yourself in this lifetime. If you have experienced hurt and are able to forgive others and yourself, you soon come to realize that no one can take anything from you, rather in every interaction you give someone something to remember you by.
Before learning how to forgive yourself, you must understand why we forgive.
On a past episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show a guest stated the definition of forgiveness perfectly when he said, “Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could be any different.”
When you think about forgiveness it’s impossible not to think about the past. It’s because of the past that you have not been able to move on. Once you internalize and completely realize that the past couldn’t be any different then you are on your way to true healing. Dwelling in the past for too long essentially makes us a living corpse. Although our bodies remain present, at times our thoughts have other plans. Even if you can’t forgive right this moment, keep focus on it because living in the past for prolonged periods of time affects our life negatively.
How many times have you held onto a grudge, or worried yourself to extreme lengths about something that has already transpired? I think we all have, but this behavior can cause a strain in our lives. My mom, like a lot of other moms, has always said, “Why cry over spilled milk.” It’s done now, so I have a choice to move on or to keep crying about that which I cannot control. I advise to choose the former.
To apply the concepts of forgiveness, one must understand that forgiveness is a selfish act. At times our ego gets bruised or feels that it’s belittling itself by forgiving, but it’s quite the opposite.
Forgiveness is for you. It’s not an apology to those that hurt you, but rather forgiving yourself for feeling hurt, sad, fearful, angry or worried. Forgiveness can only be possible when your mind, body and soul have fully relinquished the burden of judgment and expectation.
Forgiving while holding onto the past is a waste of energy and causes us to die a little bit each time. This energy could be very well manifested into something more useful.
Sometimes when we hold onto anger it’s because we want another to have a taste of their own medicine. We may be waiting for karma to hit them. There is nothing virtuous about revenge. It makes us lose sight of our divine self. That divine part of us is pure and we must protect it, but wanting something terrible for our enemies holds no virtue. There is an old Chinese proverb that goes, “If you are going to pursue revenge, you better dig two graves.”
Techniques on Forgiveness and Letting Go
Time is Precious—Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison. If he lived with hate and could not forgive those that locked him up, South Africa and perhaps the world would be different today. You must realize that your time is valuable and every second wasted holding on to the past is a second where you are impeding the possibility to make this world a better place. From the moment you are born, you are dying. How do you want to live?
Actions: Remember that if someone has hurt you, they are in fact responsible for their actions, not you. You are not forgiving them for who they are, only they can do that and vice-versa. The only action you need to take is forgiving yourself for another making you feel less precious, beautiful and pure than you are.
Ego: Your Ego isn’t real. It’s a false sense of who you are. When I forgave others for what they did in the past, I felt relieved. How they took my sincere apology was of little concern, because I did it for myself.
“What others think about you is none of your business.” ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer
Meditate: When you sit in silence with your eyes closed, or with your eyes open in a personal sanctuary of peace, think about forgiveness. Take a moment to breathe. Inhale and exhale out all that is negative within you. Know that you have the power to let go of what is not worthy for the mind and soul.
It’s for you: When you forgive, it’s for you. It’s to make you better. Do you want to be a better version of yourself? I am sure you do. The selfish act of forgiveness makes it possible for you to harness all that is good in you and shine that onto others.
Death: As morbid as it may seem, if you come to the realization that everyone close to you can be taken away at any time for any reason it will change your perspective on forgiveness. Know that all you see is dying the moment you open your eyes. Live with this sentiment and thoughts of love may become all pervading and omnipresent.
We all make mistakes: Forgive others and forgive yourself for we are not removed from making mistakes, we are only human but we can also forgive and that makes being a human divine.
Results of Learning How to Forgive Yourself
When you forgive, you let go of the past, thus embracing the present. You will come out loving yourself more, and in turn treating the world around you better.
The more you forgive the more ego you relinquish. The ego is simply a false sense of who we think we are. Even though forgiveness is purely for us, for some reason it believes it’s giving up something.
“Forgiveness is the most powerful thing you can do for yourself on the spiritual path. If you can’t learn to forgive, you can forget about getting to higher levels of awareness.” ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer
Your life simply becomes more free flowing and present when you have made forgiveness your cornerstone. You know as well as I that problems never cease, but learning how to forgive is the elixir that helps us surrender to the past and brings about true awareness and love.
Author: Anand Swamy
Editor: Travis May