Forgiveness. It's a heavy-sounding word and often a misunderstood concept. Often, people think that forgiveness is for the person who did harm when in fact, forgiveness is actually for the person who's been harmed. Forgiveness is a way to let go of any anxiety, resentment, or ill feelings towards whatever situation or person caused harm in the first place. It's a way to free yourself of those negative feelings so you can move about more freely in the light and spirit of the world.
When I first began really studying forgiveness, it was easy for me to get forgiveness confused with condoning or saying that whatever had happened was OK. I realized that forgiveness is not saying it’s OK; it's simply saying that you can't change the past, and you’re choosing not to continue dragging the boulder of resentment and ill will around with you. Forgiveness is accepting that the past cannot be changed and voluntarily and intentionally letting go of negative feelings. One of my favorite definitions of forgiveness, and some people might feel this is a negative outlook, but it really works for me, is that forgiveness is giving up all hope for a better past. It's accepting things exactly as they are, have been, and letting those negative feelings and thoughts go so that we can hopefully move forward with ease.
How Does Forgiveness Apply to You?
How does this apply to caregivers? I think in this day and age, it's easy to become resentful of people, situations, diseases, and the effects of aging. Forgiveness is a way to free up your spirit.
Self-forgiveness is even more important. As human beings, we are innately fallible and will make mistakes. To forgive oneself is the ultimate gift and the ultimate freedom. I often have to stop and realize that I am a human being; I am fallible and definitely not perfect. So I forgive myself for not being perfect. I try to do better. For today: forgive yourself for being imperfect, for having less than virtuous thoughts and feelings. Try to forgive others and practice walking in the world with ease and acceptance of what is and how things are today. It’s a simple practice but not always an easy one. I’ll leave you with this quote by Bernard Meltzer, “When you forgive, you in no way change the past - but you sure do change the future.”
Wishing you much love, forgiveness, and peace,
Creation Associate - Maria’s Place
Do you want to read more by Liv? Try this article about dance.