The importance of Forgiveness

  • April 20, 2020
  • Magdalena Hau
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‘The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong’ - Mahatma Gandhi

‘Forgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear.’ - Nelson Mandela

All of us want to feel free. In our essence, each one of us wants to be truly happy. Yet how come there are so many unhappy people in this world? And why don’t we see in the media and in the News regularly real life stories of happy people and not just stories of revenge and resentment? It seems that pain is more popular than peace. Is the world really such an unhappy place?

Before judging the world though, maybe it’s a good idea to look at ourselves. Do we have control of the happy and equanimous steering wheel? Or are we just veering off the road into a head on collision with pain?

Throughout our lives, we face different challenges and experiences. As women, we have all been hurt, suffered and experienced pain: difficult parenting, relationships ending, broken hearts. Too often we build barriers to the world, shielding ourselves from further attack and future pain.

How many of us, after each relationship or challenging moment, can say that we walk away with a clean slate, without any grievances, without any feelings of negativity that we hold inside? In any confrontational situation, who is actually the one responsible for our own suffering and ultimately our own ability to free ourselves from this?

Let’s speak about forgiveness. You knew the subject was coming. Don’t move onto the next article. It’s really not as hard and undesirable as you think. Actually, it’s the key for happiness and healing.

Forgiveness is a great quality that brings transformation, enabling us to overcome some powerful issues in our being that hold us back and stop us from being centred and present in our hearts. We need to do this. If you see yourself living the same story again and again but with different people, if you find yourself unable to open your heart to love, if it’s really difficult for you to find your peace, then forgiving is exactly what you need to do. It can be possible that maybe it’s not the current situation that’s the problem, but an unresolved trauma or conflict from many years ago. It’s time to let it go.

Confucius said ‘ Before going into revenge dig two graves; one for you and one for them’

When we hold onto resentment and grievances, we just keep the pain inside of us. Our cells remember this and keep the memory of that event. When something similar happens later, and it can be many years later, all the emotions and reactions come flooding back. It doesn’t have to be a huge event. It might not even be something you remember. Maybe as a young child, your mother left you in the supermarket alone for 2 minutes when she went to look for something and you felt totally abandoned. If in that moment, emotionally it had an impact, those feelings of abandonment will resurface again and again in your life. Let’s break these chains and cycles!

Forgiveness is rooted in our human nature.  It is difficult to grasp as it is beyond the mind.

Few know truly how to forgive, others confuse it with weakness. Actually it takes a courageous person, to make the choice to forgive.

Forgiveness gives space subtly and helps us to overcome limits and blockages which exist when we resent. Forgiving creates unity instead of separation.

When we are unforgiving we live in the past. We just feel bad states and then we miss the present moment as we are so stuck in the past and this ruins our future.

Resenting something and thus, holding on to reactions that continue to disturb us, lead us to being out of balance and not being centred in the heart. When we resent or feel upset with someone about something, we think excessively, we suffer emotionally and ultimately physically.

One day, a Zen master asked his disciples, whether they resent anyone. Almost everyone nodded “Yes”.

He gave them each a bag and told them to fill it with potatoes. If they resent someone, then they should put a potato in the bag. If they resent two people, two potatoes needed to go in the small bag. In addition to this he told them to carry this bag wherever they went.

The disciples thought this was a simple task and agreed to do it. The disciples carried the potatoes everywhere. After some days the potatoes started to rot and started to smell bad.

The disciples found it very difficult to carry them. So they went to the Zen master and asked whether they could stop.

The Zen master laughed loudly and said “This is what happens in your mind when you fill it with resentment.” He continued “If you promise to remove resentment and hatred from your mind then you can throw your potatoes away”.

Forgiveness is the peace you feel when you let go of a grievance. Forgiveness is for you as well as for the offender. Forgiveness is about taking responsibility of our emotions and feelings. Forgiveness is something we can train. Forgiveness is about becoming a heroine instead of being a victim. Forgiveness is a choice we make.

Everyone can forgive.

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