Home > Reflections and Insights A Through Z > Forgiveness, Inside and Out

Forgiveness, Inside and Out

This is my sixth post in a series, where each Monday I will post about a point of reflection or insight that I will use to reflect and meditate on during the week. In order to make it a bit more focused and interesting, I will attempt to do this with topics beginning with letters from A to Z. I have often found that having a specific topic to reflect and/or meditate on during the week really lends itself to interesting insights and growth, because you not only have several days to reflect and meditate on the topic, but you have several days to put any lessons and insights that you discover to work in your every day life. For those that follow me on Twitter (@JasonLivingNow) I will try to write updates as the weekly topics come up during meditations, moments of reflection, or just during every day life. To view the current and previous entries in this series, please visit the: Reflections and Insights A Through Z section.

My son enjoying a kiddie pool, and some puppy kisses!

F= Forgiveness, Inside and Out: Learning forgiveness is an essential tool in living a truly happy and fulfilled life. Every one of us has had past experiences that have caused us hurt and pain, forgiveness involves releasing the power (control) that the memories from these experience have on us. We cannot change negative events from our past; however, we have the power to control how that event will shape and effect us in the present, and in the future. We may never be able to “forgive and forget”, but at the very least we can rise above those past experiences, and not let them continually cause us to feel hurt, pain, anger, and resentment.

Holding onto negativity from our past is a serious roadblock to personal and spiritual development. By hanging on to past experiences, you are only hurting yourself, because continually holding onto anger and resentment is not hurting or effecting the person that caused you pain, instead it is only causing pain to yourself. Also, if you continually focus on the past, you will never be able to fully live in the now, and enjoy your life fully and completely. You must be able to release the past, and forgive those that have caused you pain.

This is something that I have had to really work on over the past few years, because instead of truly forgiving people and events in my past, I merely covered them up and tried to simply “move on” with my life. However, this never truly works, because until you truly examine past experience, and forgive those that caused them, they will continually lurk beneath the surface, only to continually break through into your dreams, waking thoughts, and emotions. I may decide that I don’t want anything further to do with an individual that purposefully caused me pain, but I can forgive them for their actions, and wish them well in their life.

I have found it easier to forgive people, when I realize that their conscious or unconscious actions to cause me hurt or pain was, according to Buddhist teachings, out of their own suffering and ignorance. Each of us suffer in one form or another, because of insecurities, attachments, etc., so negative actions are born out of those sufferings. For example, if someone is feeling insecure, in order to boost their self perception they perform negative actions such as putting down, harming, or making fun of someone else. This does not make their actions okay, but if you understand where those actions are coming from, it is easier to forgive the person, and hopefully respond with love and kindness as the great saints from every religion have done.

Holding on to anger, resentment, and hurt only gives you tense muscles, a headache, and a sore jaw from clenching your teeth. Forgiveness gives you back the laughter and the lightness of your life“. – Joan Lunden

Practical Tip: If you find yourself drifting into negative thoughts or feelings because of something in your past, don’t simply try to cover it up. Examine why you are allowing that thought to continue to have control over your current thoughts and emotions. Remember that the past only exists in your mind, and since it only exists in your mind, you have the power to control how it will effect you.

I would love to see comments on forgiveness, and what you have done to practice forgiveness in your life. If you wish to use the topic of forgiveness as a point of reflection during the week, I would love for you to share any insights that come up.

Please come back next week for the next installment of this series, and as always if you enjoyed what you read, please share on social network sites, subscribe to this site, and share this site with others!

Also please check out my book, “The Path: Using the Religions of the World as a Guide to Personal and Spiritual Development.” (Click on the book cover to view on Amazon.com)

  1. July 2, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    I struggle with forgiveness. I like your statement about people doing harmful things because of their own suffering. This helps me to realize the why of someone’s actions and makes it easier for me to forgive. Thanks for another great post.

    • July 3, 2012 at 12:45 PM

      I’m glad that you enjoyed it! Forgiving can be very difficult, but it is essential for our own internal well-being. If we continue to hold grudges or recycle negative experience in our thoughts, then we are allowing the past, and negative people/actions, to continue having power and control over our current life. Forgiving and releasing takes that power and control away from them, and gives you power and control over your life.

  2. July 2, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    Very true. Forgiveness is about you not them.

    • July 3, 2012 at 12:43 PM

      Very true, we must forgive and release for our own well being, even if the other person hasn’t asked for forgiveness.

  3. Dave
    July 2, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    There is a great reference to this, in the book, ‘The Tools.’ It becomes very important that we not put ourselves in an inescapable maze that puts the other person in control, and a drainage on our energy.

    • July 3, 2012 at 12:42 PM

      Absolutely, by not forgiving someone and moving on, we are allowing someone else, and their past actions, to maintain power control in our current lives.

  4. thedawnerupts
    July 2, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Reblogged this on g.e. and commented:
    Letting go – such an important concept on the path to peace… Freedom for mind and spirit.

  5. July 2, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Indeed forgiveness is both essential and difficult. For me the problem is that the people who have hurt me never asked for forgiveness-they don’t think they are wrong. I have struggled to even put things out of my mind, much less forgive.I decide that I just won’t talk about it. You are right, it may help the offender not to “hear it’ but it doesn’t help you, when you still feel you were wronged. Forgiveness is one of the3 most difficult things for me. Thanks for the insightful article on its necessity.

    • July 3, 2012 at 12:40 PM

      I think that forgiveness is really for your own internal well-being. If you wait around for someone to apologize for the wrong that they have caused, that may never come, especially if they don’t feel that they did any wrong to begin with. By forgiving them, whether they ask for it or not, really helps your own internal well-being, becuase you release the power and control that they, and their past actions, have over you and your current life. There are several people in my life that I have simply forgiven, although I haven’t even tried to contact them and inform them of such, becuase I am not sure that it would do any good, and once I have forgiven them and their action, I am happy to simply wish them well, and let our paths continue in seperate directions.

      • July 3, 2012 at 9:12 PM

        Thank you for your note on my comment-it is really hard to “forgive” those who don’t think they have done wrong-especially when you can’t just “go your separate ways”. Sometimes just vowing to my self not to dwell on it is the best I can do…for now-this was an inspiring article.

  6. Chris
    July 2, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    In my own meditations, I have found that the only reasons not to forgive are selfish and narcissistic. If I refuse to let go of anger for past wrongs, it is only for the perceived power, thrill (however awful), or some other self-obsession. It would seem that humility is deeply involved with the ability to forgive.

    • July 3, 2012 at 12:36 PM

      I agree 100%, I have often found that my refusal to forgive someone is based on my desire to hold something against someone, or hold something over someone’s head. Humility is a huge part of forgiveness, especially when you remember that you too have caused others pain, whether you meant to or not, so you too have proverbial blood on your hands.

  7. The Water Bearer
    July 2, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    Love this post. I just wrote a little about this recently too. My post ‘When will we feel good enough?’ helped me forgive myself, feel God’s forgiveness and offer forgiveness to others. even if they cant admit they were wrong by hurting me so deeply. So important to our own improved state of mind.

    • July 3, 2012 at 12:34 PM

      Absolutely! It is essential for our own well being to release and forgive others, even if they do not realize the pain they have caused us, or refuse to accept responsibility. Forgiveness is primarily for ourself, not necessarily for the one that caused pain to us.

  8. July 3, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    Very True, I also agree with the comment from Chris about humility being involved as well. The post I mentioned in my previous comment was centered around this concept. 🙂

  9. July 3, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    I find that being able to forgive others is inseparably linked to being able to forgive ourselves. Forgiveness – at it’s deepest level – involves not only releasing the past, but also knowing our oneness with those who have ‘wronged’ us, and being able to relate to the pain and suffering that motivates them – and to ultimately see ourselves in them, and know that “there but for the Grace of God go I.”

    So the more we are willing to look within, embrace our shadow side and forgive ourselves, then the easier it becomes to forgive others.

    ~ Ben

  10. July 3, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    That’s very true. If you don’t forgive, you cannot be happy because you would always have that memory and angry held inside of you. Forgiveness is a freeing thing if exercised. If I didn’t forgive all of the people that have done me wrong, I would be angry forever. Being angry can only fuel you in a positive manner for a short while before it turns a positive to a negative. Two wrongs never make a right. Thanks for posting! This was a very insightful post and I look forward to reading more of your work ~Brittny Lee

  11. July 5, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    first, thank you for liking my blogs… truly appreciated… about forgiveness.. i had a hard time forgiving before too, but as i matured spiritually, i have connected forgiveness with loving others as it is what God tells us to do, maybe the one who hurt us carries heavier load than we do,, so, we just have to understand them instead of judging.. http://marborro.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/understanding-others-hurts/
    will be following your site. God bless 🙂

  12. July 6, 2012 at 9:09 AM

    Hello Jason. I found your blog because you clicked “like” on my site. I’m glad I made my way over here, as your article is both thoughtful and insightful. Learning to forgive can be a process, whether it’s forgiveness of self or others. I came to realize that I could fully forgive others when I was able to sincerely pray for them. Have you ever tried to pray for someone when you’re angry with them? I found over time if I asked God to bless someone, I could only do that with an open and forgiving heart. To come to that point doesn’t necessarily mean there is a change in the other person. It means there would be a change in me. Thank-you for stopping by my site. Pleased to meet you!

  13. July 6, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    How very true your sentiments are…and always a pleasure to stumble upon a blog where such thoughts are written so well 🙂

  14. July 19, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    I agree that forgiveness can be necessary for healing to occur in your life. During my chakra meditations, I find it easy to open my heart chakra and let forgiveness in… “Any anger or fear is past, it can be healed. When you let it go, you’ll feel your true essence of love and joy. To send forgiveness, wrap those people who have caused you pain in bright green light, cleansing and healing the situation.” For the complete Chakra Meditation, go to http://www.thechakras.org, where it is available for free audio download.
    Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries

    • July 24, 2012 at 2:56 PM

      I have done similar meditations in the past, and they are very helpful. One in particular is to envision someone that has caused you mental or physical pain alone with you in a forest. You have the absolute ability to cause them pain, or show them love. By showing love, you heal yourself, and can release any negative power they still hold over you.

  15. July 31, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    Such an insightful post. Carrying burdens only hold us down. And what a gorgeous photo. 🙂

    • August 13, 2012 at 8:43 AM

      Thank you very much, I’m glad that you enjoyed it! Thanks for commenting!

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