Forgiveness is one of the most powerful things we can ever do. True forgiveness involves reclaiming your own power. The person whom you are forgiving is a person you have been granting an unreasonable amount of power over you. I remember a friend of mine who was raised by an alcoholic father, who constantly went on and on about how he had ruined her life. This woman was 55 years old. She had not seen her father in more than 30 years. He had been dead for 20 years. And yet, she was still giving him power over her happiness. She was blaming him for the unhappiness that she still had in her life.
I’m not saying that her father did not mistreat her and her mother. From her stories, I know that he truly made her life miserable. However she has continued to make herself miserable by clinging to memories of those old events and not forgiving him.
If she had been able to forgive him and move forward, she would’ve reclaimed her own power over her happiness. Her happiness is her responsibility, not the responsibility of a man who has been dead for 20 years. If she ever realizes that, her capacity for happiness will be enormous.
My own mother had never forgiven my father for his cruelty to the day she died in 2011. My father had died in 1982 and my parents had been divorced since 1967. And during all of those years, my mother’s bitterness toward my father never waned. Needless to say, she was a very unhappy person most of the time. When you allow yourself to feel bitterness towards another person, that bitterness spills over into the rest of your life and poisons it in a way that severely reduces your ability to be happy.
Is has been said many times, that “the moment of power is now.” What that means is that it is only in the present, right here, right now, that you can exercise your power to change your life. The past is gone. The future has not yet arrived. You cannot operate from a point of power in either the past or the future. If you are allowing your grudges and negative feelings to keep you in the past, you are keeping yourself from the now. You are keeping yourself from the only place where you can exercise real power.
The biggest gift that forgiveness brings is not to the person being forgiven. It is the gift of freedom to the person doing the forgiving. When you truly forgive, you are free to move forward. You are no longer tied to that heavy anchor of blame that holds you back. When we give up all of the grudges and bad feelings that we hold for others, it is very much like shedding hundreds of pounds of weight.
You can give yourself this gift right now. Start forgiving everyone for everything. Especially forgive yourself. Forgive your parents. Forgive your siblings. Forgive your children. Forgive your grandparents. Forgive your coworkers. Forgive the politicians and news media. Forgive everyone for everything. When you step into your power by releasing all of that negativity, you will realize there was nothing to forgive. And the fact that you have forgiven is a great gift for you, as it releases everything that was holding you back.