How Do You Know When You Are Done With Forgiveness?
So many of my clients understand how crucial it is to forgive everyone for everything.
We do many healings about forgiveness and let go of layers and layers of resentment, bitterness and anger. This is all very good and helpful and along the way actual miracles occur in terms of mental, emotional and physical healing.
To me, forgiveness is like taking out the trash.
I begin by emptying the small bins around the house into the large bins in the kitchen. I have of course a recycling bin and a trash bin, and on a regular basis these large bins get carted to the trash containers outside, which then get hauled off once a week by the city of Atlanta. The city of Atlanta then takes my trash to the dump or a recycling center, where my trash gets converted into other forms of energy.
Because we are still human beings having a human experience, we will continue to experience hurt, anger and disappointment and therefore will need to continue to work on forgiving and letting go of the old negative energy that holds us back.
Like taking out the trash, if we are alive, we need to continue to forgive.
To me, the acid test for whether or not you have actually, totally forgiven someone is this:
Can you tell the story of what happened, stick to the actual facts and feel absolutely no negativity about anything that happened?
Listen to this story:
I was driving down Northside Drive (that’s the main road in front of my house).
I got to the stop light at Collier Road and the light turned red.
I stopped my car and waited.
After awhile, the light turned green and I put my foot on the gas pedal and kept on going.
Can you listen to this story and FEEL how there is no negativity whatsoever?
It’s just what happened, a normal, natural part of life. Nothing personal, nobody out to get me. I am not a victim of the light turning red, it’s just something that happened. I dealt with it and then moved on.
We have to remember that the rain comes down on everyone.
When it snowed two major blow-outs in Atlanta this year, the snow was not personal – the snow came down on everyone.
Just as the snow came down on everyone, we have to remember that the vicissitudes of life are not personal.
Ups and downs are not the exception – they are the norm.
About 17 percent of the population has a personality disorder, so if someone in your family was especially difficult to deal with, join the club. Your childhood may have been difficult, sorrowful, painful and wounding, so join the club. In fact, if no one in your family had a personality disorder that drove the rest of the family into some sort of therapy, statistically that would have been the exception.
It’s just not personal.
When we recognize that this is actually the truth, it’s a lot easier to take the larger view and forgive everyone and everything, including yourself.
Test yourself by telling yourself the story of the absolute worst thing that ever happened to you.
If you can tell your story without feeling like either a victim or an idiot, without feeling immense anger or resentment to those who you once thought had especially personally wronged you, congratulations, you’re done.
Otherwise, keep digging deeper.
There’s more trash to take out, there’s more layers of forgiveness for you to get to, and as you dig deeper, you will notice yourself feeling lighter and healthier and even much, much happier.
What is healing? Healing happens when we continue to forgive and forgive and forgive and forgive and forgive and forgive. And then some!
As the Bible says, Matthew 18: 21-25:
“Then Peter came up and said to him, ‘Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?’
“Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.'”