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Do You Understand Forgiveness?

A lot of people say that you can never truly forgive someone who has violated your trust. After all, trust is one emotion that is easy to loose but difficult to gain. Even if someone is able to trust someone again, it takes constant effort to maintain that trust. But what exactly does forgiveness look like? Does forgiveness mean moving forward as if nothing ever happened? Must forgiveness involve completely letting go of a situation?

Often times, people feel as if you can only forgive someone if you start anew by forgetting the negative thoughts and feelings from your mind. Psychologists often teach that forgiveness is an act of releasing hurt and/or betrayal you have towards someone, irregardless of if they ask for forgiveness or not; but forgiveness does not include completely forgetting the events that occurred.

No matter how you define forgiveness, let me tell you what forgiveness is not. Forgiveness is not you forgiving yourself for an absent parent or forgiving yourself for the behaviors of others. We are only powerful enough to stop behavior that we start ourselves, and there is no value in beating yourself up over the shortcoming of others. When I was a child, I was ashamed of the relationship I didn't have with my parents and not having a picture perfect family as depicted on TV. What life has taught me is that forgiveness is about acceptance.

Overall, forgiveness is an act that aids you in releasing negative energy towards the person who committed an offense towards you. It is the act of accepting what is, and not taking on the accountability that is intended for others. Forgiveness is represented by you sitting in your real feelings, and being comfortable with them and owning how you feel. Forgiveness is also represented by being unashamed of circumstances that you did not create.

I am all for forgiving and moving forward in life, and I am also an advocate for giving responsibility to where it belongs. No one can take responsibility for actions they didn't commit and therefore should not be embarrassed by them. As adults, we all have a responsibility to stand in our truth and rid ourselves of negative emotions that are keeping us down. Also, we have the responsibility to rid our lives of people and/or things that cause negative emotions.

What do you need to release today? What negative emotions are you letting derail your progress in life? No matter what the cause of the issue or where you stand now, you have complete power to forgive and move forward on a healthier path.


Val Barnett

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