Because forgiveness is a state of being, action is required to move into that place or that state. Like so many other lessons, avoiding forgiveness is not static. Anger leads to judgment. (He is so mean, disrespectful, or vindictive when he did that to me. She is so arrogant that she didn’t even realize she hurt me.)
Judgment leads to blame, and blame leads to resentment. Resentment is unresolved anger and resentment hurts us, manifesting in stress-related illness, anxiety, or depression. Resentment hardens our hearts paving a path of vengeance. We can lose ourselves in judgment, condemnation, and conflict, all the while wondering why we are not happy and content.
Forgiveness is a choice. We take responsibility for our peace of mind and happiness when we choose to forgive. Many leaders think if we forgive, it is for the benefit of others. The primary advantage is that forgiveness benefits ourselves, and the primary function is removing ego separation bringing us back into our right mind with God. To make this choice, we experience a miracle.
The process of experiencing the miracle of forgiveness is perception shifting. The change in attitude comes to us through grace. Cultivating a practice of forgiveness first begins with self-forgiveness. Dr. Robin Casarjian describes six steps to practice self-forgiveness in her book, Forgiveness:
- Acknowledge the truth.
- Take responsibility for what you have done.
- Learn from the experience by acknowledging the deeper feelings that motivated the behaviors and thoughts for which you now feel guilty and hold yourself in judgment.
- Open your heart to yourself and compassionately listen to the fears and calls for help and acknowledgment deep within.
- Heal emotional wounds by heeding the calls in healthy, loving, and responsible ways.
- Align with your Self and affirm your fundamental innocence.
By practicing self-forgiveness, always remember to be gentle with yourself, suspending judgment, allowing and receiving miracles in this holy space. The miracle and shift in perception and attitude gives us insight about others and ourselves.
Practice self-forgiveness…why? The reason is just as the old L’Oréal commercial said, “Because I’m worth it!”
P.S. This is an excerpt from my book, “Love-Based Leadership: Transform Your Life with Meaning and Abundance” to purchase or read another excerpt, click HERE.