Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Gift of Forgiveness

There are only a couple of weeks left until we wrap up 2010. It seems an appropriate time to think about mending fences in our lives, and see what we can each do personally to apologize, forgive, and lighten the emotional load we take into the fresh new year. As each year passes, the enlightened soul realizes that our time on the earth is finite. The years pass more and more quickly. Sometimes we can't even remember why we carry a grudge against a family member or friend.It is time to unpack the baggage.

Healthy people apologize freely. They realize noone is perfect, not even themselves. Often in the quickness of daily life, we forget to consider the impact of our words, actions,or tone on the people who are close to us. We may disappoint others and let them down. I have seen family members melt in my counseling office when a heartfelt apology is given freely, with the genuine intent to learn and do better in the relationship. Apologizing to anyone you have hurt this year will likely bring you closer, but,at the very least,it will give you more peace internally. To give a satisfying apology, one must be able to get past the ego and pride, and recognize our own human frailty.

Forgiving others for the hurt they may have caused you is something smart that emotionally intelligent people do often. Holding grudges and resentment is like eating poison every day. Why would you want to do that? One of my favorite lines from the Course in Miracles is,"Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?" There is no benefit to holding on to resentment, and it could negatively impact your mental or physical health.Forgiveness is something you do for your own well-being, not because someone earns it. After all, if we aren't perfect, how can we expect that everyone else is going to read our script?

This Christmas season, be generous with your apologies and your forgiveness. Doing your part to own your own shadow self,in Jungian terms, makes it easier for others to do the same. By apologizing for your own thoughtlessness, selfishness, or hurtfulness to those you love, and forgiving their slights towards you, you will be better prepared to begin the new year with lighghtness and more room for joy.I wish you a happy holiday season and a lighter 2011!

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