Forgive and forget. One of those catch phrases we throw around attaching no thought or action to it. So easy to say these words, but do you; have you, actually done it? Or are you like most of us, and have something that you are harbouring or dwelling on deep inside?
While life would be one bright and colourful place if it was only full of rainbows, butterflies, unicorns and sunshine, we all know, reality isn’t. There are dark moments, painful experiences, words that hurt, disappointments, set backs and things that make us see red and breathe fire.
Saying “I am sorry” and meaning it, is harder than truthfully expressing “I love you”. What’s more; is it’s a challenge to say it to someone else, but near impossible to say to ourselves. Can you relate to that?
Sometimes, the disappointments and harsh words in our life, come from ourselves and in my experience, they are the ones that cause the most damage. I spent many years suffering from depression, so I am very familiar with the impact that thoughts and self talk can have. These are the ones we here often from that annoying chatter and back chat in the mind. Even if we know its not true, when you here the likes of “I am not good enough” or “I can't” on repeat for days, weeks and often lifetimes, its hard not to buy into that thought pattern.
I am not saying that you shouldn’t let negative times, actions and words affect you, because we are human and it does hurt. But you don’t want things that happened in one moment, fester and impact a string of moments that follow in the future.
Your time, energy and effort are of greatest value, so spend them wisely.
Is harping on something that happened that no matter how hard you try you can not change, worthy of your ongoing attention? Or are there more beneficial people, projects or passions for you to be focusing on?
Forgive whether it is deserved or not. The only person you continue to hurt by holding a grudge is yourself. Every minute you spend re-living the encounter, you cause yourself more pain. The more time you spend thinking about it, the stronger the neuro pathways become and therefore your emotional memory, affecting your future reaction to similar events.
The more time you wallow in it, the more time you steal from yourself to move on to greener pastures.
The person that you offer forgiveness to, isn’t wasting their time on it. They aren’t being hurt by you indulging in the trauma. It's purely you, that you are choosing to harm.
And yes, it is a choice. While you absolutely can not control the words other people say, or the events that happen, any more then you can control the barrage of random thoughts in your subconscious mind, you have absolute control in how you respond and behave in response to them. So choose wisely.
How much do you value your time and energy? And it seems appropriate to remind us all here, that our time is not an infinite source. That whether we like it or not, our clock is ticking, so every second lost to a grudge is one second we are never going to get back.
For me, forgiveness to self or to others or to life events, is really about self value.
It’s valuing yourself enough to want to let go. To want to improve your quality of life. It’s about giving yourself a clean slate for future present moments, rather than ones tainted by the past. Surely you deserve that basic right?
Start simply by saying the words “I’m sorry”. Write them down, use them in a mantra in your meditation or yoga practice. Practice makes perfect and over time you will believe those words and free yourself from the emotional weight.
Forgive and forget and create an effortless existence.
By Amy Booth
Amy is a yoga and pilates teacher and personal trainer in Brisbane, Australia, where she runs a cute riverside studio and a personal training business. In addition each year she runs a yoga retreat (Bali, August 2018) and hiking retreat (Australia, 2018).
Connect with Amy:
Facebook: Amber Tree Yoga and Retreats
Practice forgiveness now with this meditation class designed to help you learn how to forgive and forget easier.
Meditation: Heart Focused with Keith Allen
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