Lifepath Coaching
Katy Foley, MA

Creating a path to change

Lifepath Blog

Hopeful hints from a life coach.

Posted on June 25, 2015 at 11:15 AM
June 25, 2015 Forgiveness. We hear that word a lot. We are told things like, "you need to forgive so you can move on", or the old standard, "forgive and forget". Forgiveness has been a theme for seekers and promoters of peace throughout history. Mahatma Gandhi said this about forgiveness, "The weak never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." Martin Luther King, Jr. said this: " We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies." From Marianne Williamson, "Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness." "When you forgive, you in no way change the past - but you sure do change the future", Bernard Meltzer. "It'a one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody", Maya Angelou. "Holding onto anger and resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die". I'm not sure to whom I should give credit for this quote, but I've uttered it hundreds of times in counseling sessions and groups over the years. So what does forgiveness mean to us? How do we forgive? What does forgiveness really have to do with peace anyway? What happens if we don't forgive? Forgiveness. noun. The action or process of forgiving. Forgive. verb. To stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong). To stop blaming. To stop feeling anger....Not always easy I know. Especially when the anger is "justified". Let's start by talking about the feelings of anger, hurt, resentment, frustration, hate, and many others that arise when we are hurt by someone (including ourselves). Those feelings are ours. We own them. We are responsible for them. We are responsible for how we act on them. That's a key point, one that is important in the act of forgiving. Since our feelings are within us, and we are the person who is feeling them, it is up to to us to decide whether or not those feelings are helping us or hurting us; whether they are worth holding onto or perpetuating, or whether we would be healthier if we let them go. Ultimately those feelings will hurt only us, not the person who hurt us in the first place. In other words the original offense may have been done TO us; the ongoing damage is being done BY us to us.This is where forgives comes in. Forgiveness is a pathway toward empowerment, healing, happiness and peace. By holding onto to all the negative feelings, we are allowing the person who wronged us to maintain some measure of control of our life. We are allowing them to continue to rob us of happiness and peace. By holding on to anger and resentment we are staying tethered to the past. So you see, forgiveness has very little to do with the other person. It is really all about you and your health and hsppiness. We see acts of evil all around us. The media seems to bombard us with stories of the horrible things that people do to each other and to themselves. And we look at people like the Boston Marathon bombers, stories of police brutality, stories if neighbor hurting neighbor, and we ask "how can we possibly forgive?" I'm am not saying it is easy. In fact it may seem impossible, or nearly so. But then I always remember what my mother said to me when I was faced with a seemingly impossible task. She would say, "Katy, the impossible only takes a little longer". And the end result of forgiveness is a healthier, happier you who is able to lay aside negative feelings that are hurting no one but you. I hope this helps. Katy Foley, Life Coach

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