Mindfulness Hack #15: Forgiveness Makes Space

January 25, 2019

Harboring resentment and anger toward someone, something, or an incident of the past blocks your pathways to happier living. Straight up.

If you’re feeling unfulfilled or stuck and you’re frustrated that you cannot get past this thing or phase in your life, then it’s high time you took a good look in the mirror and asked yourself what you need to let go of.

Anger and resentment does no one any good. Especially if it’s something that happened a long time ago. Plus, by holding on to that anger, you ultimately just continue to give that thing, person, or situation more and more power. You give it the reins. Is that really what you want? To continually hand over your power?

When we practice forgiveness, we make space for other things to come into our lives. When we hold on to the negative emotions and refuse to forgive, we ultimately hurt ourselves more than the person who hurt us. And if we continue to relive the incident that caused the harm, we make a conscious decision to live in the past. Which really means that we are oblivious to the things right in front of us, right now, in the present. What a waste of life, if you ask me.

We have this idea that are certain things are unforgivable and we simply cannot let go. And yet, on the other side, there is a common thought among coaching giants like Tony Robbins, spiritual leaders like His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and scientists like Dr. Joe Dispenza - forgiveness is not only possible, it’s essential.

Try this:

If there is something in your life that you feel like you just can’t overcome (weight loss, fitness goals, making a certain amount of money, finding the right partner, etc.), trace your thoughts backwards from this thing you’re stuck on. Don’t control your thoughts - let them come naturally and without your interruption, second guessing, or judgement. If you follow the thought pattern, can you trace it to someone or thing that you are still mad at? And if so, why are you still mad? What have you missed because of it? (Again - notice your thoughts without judgment!) If it doesn’t come to you right away, keep trying. Chances are good, you’ll be able to trace it something that needs forgiveness. And then you can do the deep work of letting go.

For My Educators:

As a mom and an educator, one thing I’m eternally amazed at is young people’s ability to love and forgive unconditionally. I remember having rough days with my students - lots of heads down and yelling, probably even kicking kids out - and I would go home, carrying that anger and frustration, waking up the next day still holding all that shit. I’d get into my classroom, already determined that it was going to be just as bad as the day before, and in comes the kid who drove me to insanity the day before, walking in all smiles and saying hi, lovin’ on me like nothing happened. You know what I realized? A few things actually… 1.) that life is too short to stay mad; 2.) if they can let go, why can’t I? and 3.) I have a responsibility to them, to model for them the importance of forgiveness. If they can forgive me for yelling and losing my cool, why can’t I forgive them for being creative and testy?

Game changers:

TKF has a lot of curriculum on forgiveness. Their story is the ultimate, almost unbelievable, story of forgiveness. If a father can forgive the young man who killed his only son, than you can work on forgiveness, too! Watch this video to see the founders of TKF share the Ted stage and talk about the importance of forgiveness.

Marie Kondo uses tidying up as a way of letting go. Her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, is pretty dope! It’s also a great Audible listen. And, for you non-readers out there, she’s got a new show on Netflix. Check it out!

Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth has an awesome short story called “A Heavy Load” in it about two monks, a bratty princess, and big puddles. It’s one of those short stories that never leaves your brain.

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