Every Time You Remember, Forgive

This small but mighty string of words caught my breath a bit.  And I’ve always been quite weary of the word “forgive”.  It seems lofty, unrealistic, or an appealing but empty sentiment better described with words like dealt-with, processed, or understood.  The word forgive seems to suggest that the pain just dissolved or is somehow no longer part of the story or relationship. So my own working definition of “forgiveness” is better described this way: a process of understanding what happened from all sides and finding closure in the ways needed.  Sometimes this closure means setting boundaries or cutting-ties with someone, sometimes it means working to find compassion for ourselves when we’ve done something we now feel ashamed of.

Regardless though, after spending years weary of the word forgive, I was surprised by how this tiny gut-punch string of words moved me so.  As I turn them over - everytime you remember, forgive - my mind drifts here…

Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting, glazing over, or providing a hall pass to someone who’s caused harm.  It's a conscious decision to let go of resentment and anger, and it can be one of the most freeing things ever done.  Everytime you remember, forgive feels  like a soft, comforting blanket that I’m able to throw over my busy mind, like a protective shield against painful thoughts of my own toxic family of origin.  It reminds me that a meaningful experience of forgiveness is for us, not for them; it’s for our own peace and grounded perspective.  It’s to ensure we’re living outside the bubble of hate and resentment.  And the words feel equally protective regarding how we may forgive ourselves for actions or missteps we feel remorseful about.

Learn how to let go of the past, accept what happened and make the choice to move forward with your life.

The comforting, weighted blanket of everytime you remember, forgive can help us quickly recover from painful feelings that surface unexpectedly.  Like the best kind of wake-up snap in the face - “Hey! Come back here!  Don’t wander off in the dark!”.  This is an important skill to use in regards to a trauma response, flashback, or unexpected moment of being confronted with painful memories.  These memories often hit spontaneously and leave us feeling unsure of how to pivot back into the moment or calmly resume our day.  Sudden painful thoughts can literally hijack the nervous system, scramble executive functioning, and cause dissociation.  Practicing ways to ground yourself, pull your thoughts back to center, and regain perspective are CRUCIAL for feeling like you're in the driver seat of your life. Perhaps this tiny gut-punch string of words can momentarily help you find your way back - everytime you remember, forgive...  

You get to define forgiveness in whatever way speaks to your heart, your circumstances, your relationships, your life.  I encourage you to ponder what kind of warm, comforting blanket you can throw over your own busy mind when you need it most.  

As always, I’m serious when I say – please share your thoughts with me.  Life is crazy and it’s altogether easier when we’re not going it alone.    

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