How to Turn Forgiveness into a Powerful Gift

It’s a big word these days in the spiritual development and personal growth circles. Everyone is saying that forgiveness is the path to enlightenment and the fastest way to improve yourself and your life.

You know, “To err is human, to forgive is divine” and all that jazz. 

Me? I’m actually not a huge fan of the word. To me it implies that something went wrong, and the more I grow and learn, the more I believe that everything is unfolding perfectly for our highest good. Does that mean it always feels good? Hell no! But just because something doesn’t feel good doesn’t mean it’s inherently bad.

I’ve come to think of it as alignment rather than forgiveness. Stay with me here because this is a very small distinction that packs a big punch.

If we are all extensions of Source/God/All That Is (which I believe), then things are always working out for us. If someone does something to me and I feel mad or sad or vengeful, I’m feeling that way not because what they did made me feel like that. No, I’m feeling those negative emotions because I am no longer looking at that person like my Source or Inner Being is - with love, compassion and kindness. I think they did something wrong, but Source sees them as my brother or sister, helping me to learn something important about myself and that everything is divinely unfolding for both our highest good.

So of course I feel like crap - I’m out of alignment with myself! And whenever I’m out of alignment with myself, I feel awful. It wasn’t that person’s actions that made me feel anything, rather it was my focus on some negative aspect of them that’s the culprit. 

So instead maybe we should say, “To err is human, to forgive is to align”!?!?

Here’s a great example of what I mean: Recently, I sublet my apartment to someone in NC while I came out to CA. Now, I love my home. I’ve spent years making it a haven and sanctuary from the craziness of the outside world. Everyone who comes there says how amazing the energy is and how wonderful they feel when they’re there.

Not this person. This person almost immediately starting sending emails and texts saying how dirty things were and how I didn’t clean out enough drawers and closet space for him/her.

I have to admit, the criticisms hit me hard. I felt nauseous in my stomach and really felt the stress in my body. It affected me for days as this person communicated in what I felt was a really passive aggressive way when I only had the best intentions to create a loving space for him/her while they stayed there.

You see, that’s a huge button for me - someone thinking that I tried to deceive or mistreat them when I know in my heart that I only had good intentions.I hate that feeling.

But you know what? This person didn’t install my button - s/he only pushed it.

That’s what we’re here for - to help each other know which buttons we still have installed so we can do the work of uninstalling them. That way, we don’t walk around getting triggered every day and can actually go out, enjoy life, and make a difference in the world.

So I needed to see this person as a mirror for me and realign with my natural state of gratitude - gratitude that s/he showed me what old programming I was still carrying around about having to get everyone to like me and letting what others say hurt me.

Could s/he have done it in a more positive, loving way? Sure. But that’s not for me to decide. Stuff happens all day every day that I don’t agree with, but if I spend my time and energy trying to make the world perfect, I’ll exhaust myself and fail in my mission. The world is never going to be exactly as you want it. People will never act how you want them to. They’re not supposed to - they’re supposed to remind you that you always have a choice how to react in any given situation - from a place of hate or a place of love.

That guy in your office who makes crude jokes? Your mirror.

Your mother-in-law? Your mirror.

Donald Trump? Your mirror.

Sorry about that last one, but if you’re serious about shifting into a more loving, abundant space, then he’s the ultimate test, right? Because even if you’re justified in hating someone, that hate in your system will only mess up your vibe. For your own sake, you gotta let that sh!$ go. That doesn’t mean you don’t act when you see something you want to change. But it does mean your actions will be so much more powerful because they’ll come from aligned space.

That’s how I see forgiveness now. I am “for giving”myself a break from the twisting knot in my stomach when I focus on someone with hate in my heart. I am “for giving” that person the benefit of the doubt and remembering that if they are acting out, they’re most likely coming from a very hurt place inside themselves and their anger is more about them than it is about me. I am “for giving”myself the peace that I feel when I let something go.

So my tips for aligning:

  1. Feel the negative emotion and ask what button is it pushing in you.
  2. See the person who pushed the button as a hurt child.
  3. Hug them in your heart and then detach from them.
  4. Communicate with as much detached compassion as possible (aka, don’t get involved in the drama).
  5. Move on with your life.

After a few days, I realized what a gift this person had given me. I was able to receive message from him/her and not get that sinking feeling in my stomach. I was able to see the situation objectively, without the distortion of emotion clouding my viewpoint (truthfully, there were things I could have done better in leaving my place so I offered to pay for a cleaning lady to come in at my expense). And most importantly, I was able to see this person as the divine being that s/he is and thank him/her in my heart for the lesson.

 Who’s pushing your buttons big time? Maybe it’s time to align with your divine and see the situation as an opportunity to step more into your true loving self...

 

“For giving” you all the love I got,

Emily