Monday, May 17, 2010


Freedom Through Forgiveness

-Devlyn Steele

Who has not been hurt, disappointed or really let down by someone in their lives? Maybe even worse, heart broken, lied to, cheated by or on by someone? The things we can do to each other from small to unspeakable are not the nice part of the human experience. Even still, they are part of our journey. Big or small, we will all suffer emotional pain caused by the behavior of others.

The tragedy of these negative events live on way beyond the moment. In fact, these painful episodes can live with us forever if we let them. They persist in our minds and have power over us. They effect our happiness, our ability to trust, to love and be loved. Negative experiences by the hand of another have a powerful imprint on our minds and our lives. We are able to feel the intensity of the pain way beyond the moment that the pain is inflicted. In fact, the intensity of the pain can get more severe as we focus on it and relive it in our minds years and years later.

The ability to experience pain beyond the moment can have us trapped, suffering by the actions of others as long as we continue to focus on it. Our bodies are much nicer to us in letting go of the experience of physical pain than we are to ourselves holding on to emotional pain. We have all stubbed our toe at some point or another...geez can that hurt. If you are like me you have done more than once ... ouch. I even broke my toe once ... ouch ouch. Okay, now I want you to concentrate on the experience, remember stubbing your toe, focus on it. Focus really hard.

No matter how hard you focus on it and remember the experience you cannot relive the pain. You cannot feel the pain you had then now. If you could, we would walk around in pain all the time or could hurt ourselves to the same level of the actual physical experience over and over again by just thinking about it. No, our bodies are smart, once the pain we experienced in the moment is over we can never feel the pain again from that moment. We do not have the same luxury with our emotional pain as we can re-experience pain when we focus on it over and over again.

Often what keeps us held a prisoner to thinking about the pain is our anger towards the person or event that was the cause of our pain. That anger keeps us thinking about what happened. The angrier we are the more we focus on it. As we focus on it, we relive the experience and feel the pain over and over again. What you need to realize is that the event, the moment that caused the emotional pain is over. The only thing that keeps that moment alive is the fact that you are thinking about it. The moment you do not think about it, it no longer is happening. It is not happening because it really is not happening, it already happened. What is happening right now is what is happening right now.

The irony is that the person who was the cause of this pain, that person is not thinking about it. The person involved has moved on and is living his or her life while you are stuck living the event of what they did. The road to you be free of holding on to that anger and living that moment endlessly is forgiving that person and you yourself moving on. The same is true of an event, meaning a hurricane might have blown your house down ... forgive and move on, don't stay in anger destroying the quality of your peace of mind.

When I tell people how forgiveness is the way to achieve freedom and peace in your life, I am often met with resistance. Forgiveness is a hard pill for someone who has suffered at the hand of another to swallow. The feelings are often that certain things are unforgivable. Further, forgiveness feels as though you are condoning the act, that you are saying what the person did is okay. To this, there is a great misunderstanding of what forgiveness in these situations mean.

When people hear that someone who has been wronged is able to forgive the perpetrator of the act, they think the person forgiving is an amazingly kind person who is selfless. That in order to forgive, maybe you don't really care what that person did, or that you are trying to be holy. What might surprise you is that forgiveness has nothing to do with any of that, not caring, being kind, holy or selfless. In fact, forgiveness is a very selfish act.

In order to understand what forgiveness is really about you need to let go of your anger. The anger is controlling you and clouding your vision. What you are really saying when you forgive someone is that they no longer have a hold on you. That you will not live tormented by what they did. That you are releasing them from your mind. You are forgiving that person not for them, but for yourself.

I wish you the ability to forgive the causes of the pains you have suffered and let them go. In that you will be free to live without the past dictating your experiences today. Forgive and become free, free to not let the past control how you experience your life today.

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