“For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Are you good at forgiving people? I mean really, really forgiving them so that you are totally free to move on. I realize that
some of the time a lot of the time I used to be a “quasi-forgiver”.
I would tell myself that I had forgiven someone. I was convinced that I had “let go” of whatever it was they had done. But, deep down, there was still a little residual lack of forgiveness I needed to work through if I was really going to move on totally free.
Let’s be real, when people do things that you feel are totally wrong and reprehensible, it can be somewhat challenging to immediately forgive them and take the high road.
I soooo used to fall into the trap of letting the things they had done stick around in my mind too long. In fact, from time to time, whatever had happened would pop into my mind and there were even instances where I could feel myself getting a little angry all over again, even though the situation happened a while ago and I had “forgiven” them.
Looking back now, I realize that I hadn’t really forgiven them completely. There was still some residual junk left from whatever it was they had done. And, whether I realized it or not, in one way or another it was holding me back from being able to move forward completely free. It was like they had left me with an ankle weight and even if it only weighed one pound, it was preventing me from being able to run as quickly as I could have been. Who on earth would want that?
It’s Time to Enlarge the Future
So, now I am all about removing any of the ankle weights or any negativity that may be clogging my system. One of my most favorite quotes -
“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” – Paul Boese
It really is so true that when we can find our way to forgiving someone, I mean really forgiving them, we are enlarging our future and opening ourselves to all the good things that are there waiting for us. It is so important to not allow any negativity to linger in your mind, and sometimes that can be hard -especially if you don’t realize it’s there because you think you have forgiven someone.
So, what I started doing was testing if I had really forgiven people who had done something I thought was wrong. Here’s a little checklist to go through and test if you truly have forgiven someone. In terms of forgiveness, the questions go from easy to hardest.
If you can honestly answer “yes” to each one, then most likely you have forgiven them. If not, no worries, it just means there is a little more “forgiveness” work to be done. Let’s just say, for certain people, it took me awhile and some more work to really be able to answer “yes” to all 10 questions. The key is to not pretend like the ankle weight and residual anger aren’t there. Read This and This and really start working today to completely forgive them. The time has come to get rid of all those ankle weights – Join me?
The Forgiveness Checklist
Stage 1: The Easier Questions
1. If you saw them stranded on the side of the road, would you stop and help them?
2. Are you more interested in prioritizing your peace of mind than you are in staying mad at them?
3. Can you think about them and whatever happened without getting upset at all?
Stage 2: The More Challenging Questions
4. Can you go a month or more without thinking about what happened?
5. Are there good things about them that you can see?
6. Can you see a valuable lesson the experience taught you?
Stage 3: The Even More Challenging Questions
7. Do you genuinely want them to be happy in the future?
8. Do you want them to be successful?
9. Can you complete this sentence with a positive statement? “If that hadn’t happened then ________”.
10. Do you believe that there was a reason for whatever happened and in one way or another you will benefit in some way from the experience?
Real forgiveness is when you can answer “Yes” to all 10 questions.