February Month of the Heart: Forgiveness, the Greatest Love of ALL - Part 3 of 3

In this February Month of the Heart last in a series of 3 blogs, I have chosen the topic of forgiveness as the greatest love of all.

It means forgiving yourself, sometimes harder for me than forgiving others.

I have found this subject so fascinating and challenging that years ago while working at Stanford University Hospital,  I enrolled in  a seven  week course on it at Stanford University.  In the first class the professor began by asking each person why we were in the  class.

Participants responded with tales of broken relationships, trespasses by lovers, parents, siblings, friends, on and on.

I was clear that I was  there to forgive myself.

Dr. Luskin made mention that indeed we do forgive FOR ourselves!  In so doing we are creating an assertive move toward peace.  Making peace with a situation where you did not get what you wanted, where you could not control the outcome is monumental and when you let it go and accept it,  your reward is peace.  What is, IS.  Check out his video on the subject of defining forgiveness.

Why is forgiveness crucial?

“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.”

In the first blog of this series,  we looked at heart health and believe me, the research shows us clearly the increased correlation between cancer, stress, heart disease, etc., that come with harboring deep emotions like lack of forgiveness is real and deserves consideration.  Look it up for yourself!

What I learned I have used in organizations for healing, in conflict resolution, in coaching and life in general.  Here are highlights I have used for a keynote that keeps developing.

First let’s start by acknowledging that we all have baggage,  if YOU claim not to, then YOU are simply fooling yourself.
In order for forgiveness to begin it must start with YOU.
Forgiveness revolves around YOU.
This is because as much as we try to change others, it will not happen unless we change ourselves.

Forgiveness is a commitment to a process of change.  I am often asked two questions repeatedly,

  • ”What if the person I’m forgiving doesn’t change?”  Getting another person to change his or her actions, behavior or words isn’t the point of forgiveness. Forgiveness is about YOU for YOU. Choose to bring yourself more peace, happiness, and emotional and spiritual healing. Forgiveness takes away the power the other person wields in your life.

Another question I have been asked is a good partner to the previous one:

  • “What if I’m the one who needs forgiveness?”  Admit the wrong you’ve done to those you’ve harmed, speak of your sincere sorrow or regret, and specifically ask for forgiveness without making excuses. Remember, however, you can’t force someone to forgive you.  Others need to move to forgiveness in their own time. Simply acknowledge your faults and admit your mistakes. Commit to treating others with compassion, empathy and respect.  Forgiveness is on a continuum with grief.  It is natural to experience grief.  Forgiveness is the resolution of grief based on the loss we experience.  It is important to our reintegration process.  So begin the process sooner than later.  Know that forgiveness is the greatest act of love.  Love yourself, love others.

With much love, I recommend attending Dr. Luskin’s workshops or at minimum read his 9 Steps to Forgiving For Good  on his website. I wish you peace!  And may you love in all ways.

How has forgiveness changed your life?
Do you have an experience with forgiving or being forgiven that you are willing to share?

Please join us in the comments, bellow.