A slightly different tone and style to today’s blog entry….
I tell lots of my individual clients about this and have written a lot about a clip from a daytime TV show here in the UK that amazed me. I know you may well be asking what I was doing watching daytime TV… It was a lunch break at home a few years ago, and I switched on the telly – my excuse.
Ok, so we used to have a daytime show called Trisha – kind of like an English and tame version of Jerry Springer. Anyway, there was a chap on this show who was 54 years old and was telling everyone how sad he felt as a result of how terrible his parents were.
He left home at the age of 17 and by all accounts, his parents were very mean and unkind to him. This was his account, but they did sound awful… And the audience were giving him a lot of “aaaahh’s” whilst tilting their head to one side in a motherly fashion…
The guy was 54 years old though.
At what age does he need to let go of that stuff? Is he going to be sitting around on his death bed thinking “I had a terrible life thanks to my parents”?? At what age does he have to take responsibility for himself and for his own life?
Let me tell you something else…
A couple of years ago, just before Christmas, while I was on holiday, someone left an extremely violent natured, aggressive message on my office answer phone. It was very intimidating, angry and made some very nasty, frightening threats of harm to me personally.
A member of my immediate family picked up my messages in my absence (my office staff were asked not to call me while I was away) and was so frightened and worried by it that they had to phone me on my holiday. A holiday that I was taking to rest and recuperate. This member of my family was scared and upset and so were several other members of my family. It caused a lot of distress.
The long and short of the scenario is that this person had called after drinking too much and rung the wrong number! They had not listened to the message, and just left an intimidating message for another person without mentioning their name and so my family member just assumed it was aimed at me.
They did not know this, I could not listen to the message myself as I was in the Caribbean. Naturally, I could not believe that someone would want to cause me harm. I felt wronged and deeply upset.
So I had to call this person to resolve the issue. Now once I had spoken to this individual – bearing in mind I had to call them from my holiday resort – they realised that they had called the wrong number. They knew that they had made a huge error. The entire thing was diffused in a couple of seconds.
There was no apology.
No apology for my upset. No apology for my families upset. No admittance of a mistake made. No apology for ruining my sunbathing that morning! Not even any acknowledgement of any kind what so ever – despite being totally in the wrong.
At the time, I was in a state of disbelief and shock. I did not know what to think or feel, heck I like to think of myself as a moderately evolved human being, yet I was struggling to let go of the negativity this caused me.
And on to something else…
Ok, I may get a little close to the knuckle here for some folk. I can remember being sold on the power of forgiveness at my Church of England Primary school. Our morning school assembly where we sang prayers also had a lesson of the day, usually from the Bible. We got taught about the power of forgiveness. It was illustrated with Jesus being on the cross and saying “forgive them Father for they know not what they do.”
I can remember – bear in mind I was 8 years old – thinking that if I was the son of God and someone had just crucified me, I’d start laying some serious lightning bolts on everyone in the vicinity! I think that may have been due to my multiple readings of Lord of the Rings at the time and my ultimate hero being Gandalf the grey, the wonderful wizard.
During the tail end of that holiday, following that Christmas, in contrast to my usual evidence based approach to therapy… I found myself reading about the spiritual law of forgiveness By Randy Gage and applied it to this situation I had found myself in.
“If you are holding onto resentment, anger or revenge, you can’t be open to receiving all your allotment of well-being and happiness.” Was one sentence I read.
Instinctively, I knew this to be true. I had known this. Yet the negative and destructive emotions I was encountering made it hard for me to do the right thing. I spent about 25 minutes in self-hypnosis, running through a process that really helped me at the time, similar to the ‘cutting the ties that bind’ technique I laid out in the previous blog entry. I let go of some stuff.
I realised that they had done what they believed to be the best they could, with what they knew of life and the world, and the consciousness they had. They believed they were doing right and as I said before, they were that way for a reason. it was a basic mistake, and despite the nature of the call not being a way I think anyone should resolve any issue, but the call was not even intended for me.
With the self-hypnosis process, I released the resentment and the anger and viewed the person in the best possible light that I could.
Whether you have a spiritual or a practical take on forgiveness, it is a very powerful thing and some people believe that if you cannot forgive, you are distracting your mind from the good stuff going on, others think that you cannot be open to accept abundance, change, happiness in certain aspects of your life. Some think that you block the entry of lots of new joy entering your life.
There are some that think you must release the negative feelings, as they only eat away at you from the inside, and prevent more of the good stuff coming your way. Here is a question for you: Who do you think most people have the most difficult time forgiving?
You are quite right, you clever thing – themselves. Ourselves. Us. Me. I.
I don’t know why so many people have so much difficulty forgiving themselves, but they do. There have been times in my life when I did too.
I came to understand that no matter how bad I thought I was, I had a way to forgive me and that my own self learned to forgive me. I knew that I must forgive myself and move on, or I would just go on to manifest a life of unhappiness, resentfulness and bitterness. of course, we do all we can to learn from life’s experiences and move onwards knowing better, but giving ourselves the cold shoulder for eternity only defeats our relationship with our self.
In my therapeutic consultancy this is very often one of the most liberating things people do. Once they forgive themselves, the world opens up to them.
As you reflect on the year you have had, as you enjoy your festive season, maybe consider letting go of what you no longer need, you don’t want to end up on a daytime TV show holding on to all your pent up anger blaming everyone else for how your life is, do you?
Ok, tomorrow is the time to read ’twas the night before Christmas’ and I’ll be back to wish you well then…
What a great thoughtful post. Thanks Adam. You are so right.
They’ll have you on the radio spot ‘Thought For The Day’ soon 🙂
I was going to mention the time you did forgive me for deleting my entire old blog with years of entries in it… I felt so bad about that!
Lovely and true. What techniques do you use for self forgiveness? Tips welcome:D
There are some things you can do, such as giving direct suggestions of forgiveness in your preferred mode of language… Or you could imaginae embracing yourself in a way that infers forgiveness within a self-hypnosis session.
To use the process I wrote about a couple of days ago… You can go through the ties that bind technique…
Once these six simple steps are completed, you open yourself to well-being and harmony and allow them to come flooding in.
Cutting the ties that bind you: How to mentally forgive everyone you are out of harmony with:
Step One: Enter self-hypnosis.
Step Two: Once you are in that nice state, imagine yourself in a favourite place – ideally outdoors. Become aware of the sights and colours around you, listen in to the sounds and feel how it feels to be in this safe, secure, favourite place.
Take some time to really develop this in your mind and with all your senses.
Step three: Think about someone that you believe you need to forgive. That forgiving them is going to be letting go of so many old, unwanted feelings that you don’t want to be carrying around with you any more. However bad they may have been to you, think about how good it will be to be free of the feelings you have been harbouring about them. Notice the feelings that you have when you think of them. Notice the way your body feels. Tune in to your feelings and signal your intentions to yourself.
Step Four: Imagine that you have a cord of some kind attached to your waist that ties you to all the negative feelings you are holding on to with regards to this person. Imagine each negative feeling or thought as a physical thing; you can create symbolic, physical things attached to the cord that represents those feelings and thoughts. Really imagine yourself as being connected to them, even feel the way that they pull on you and weigh on you.
Step Five: Now here’s the fun…Find some scissors or some shears or a sword (ahem… clicking into Lord of the Rings mode yet again today) or just use your mind to cut the ties and watch each of the elements disappear into nothingness. Watch them float further and further away from you, getting smaller and smaller. Notice how much lighter you feel as you let go and release them. Feel the feelings dissipate from deep within you. Let go of some nice, deep breaths too, even have a few nice sighs as you let go.
As you let go of each element, tell that person in your mind that you forgive them. Mean it, really mean it, put your heart into it and let go. Tell them that you forgive them, to make it even more powerful, say it out loud.
Step Six: Think about how you are going to be different this very day as a result of letting go of that and be open to something good coming your way very soon. Then just open your eyes and choose to take some action that is the action of some that has just let go of something they didn’t need any longer.
I even recommend that you consider writing a letter – write a letter to the individual that you believe it is beneficial to forgive. You don’t have to actually send it to them of course, just get it in writing and exorcise those feelings.
If it is yourself that you are forgiving, you can use the same process here, with regards to the specific thing that you need to forgive yourself for, be aware of the negative aspects that you need to cut the ties to and let go of and then go ahead and do that. If you have ever accused yourself of failure or mistakes then be sure to forgive yourself as soon as possible.
Now you may want to ask for forgiveness from some one. Firstly, admitting to yourself that you are willing to do so is half way there. You may want to include mentally asking for forgiveness from the people you have wronged in the past, spread bad feelings toward, or are involved in legal wrangles or other disharmony with. Within step five of the above process, you do the same thing, but when you let go of the negative aspects that you were previously holding on to, instead of stating that you forgive them, you ask for their forgiveness.
Hope that helps give you some initial ideas 🙂
What a word eh?
I think more than forgiving others, forgiving ourselves is probably a bit harder than one would think (even though we are biased).
I’ve found myself beating myself up for the crap of the past, things I’ve done wrong and felt that it was because of those things I cannot step up and be the shine that I am supposed to be. As if I don’t deserve it.
Then I wondered, what are they doing for me? Why am I holding on to the past? And slowly I realized one has nothing to do with today, past behaviors are not new behaviors and they don’t make me. My choice to shine today has nothing to do with my past.
Matter of fact, the past is now an opportunity to learn from and heck, share a story with others (who doesn’t like a good story?).
And when I forgave myself, and realized I am now and not there, I am shining.
Normally I would agree with everything you have said about forgiving yourself and others. However, when an adult has done something unspeakable to you as a child, how can you even begin to think about forgiving them. By forgiving them would I not be saying to myself that it was OK what they did?
Roy, thank you for your candour and for sharing, lovely to hear that and I value your contribution.
Tracey, this is a common misconception that you mention here, something lots of people think – that by forgiving, you are somehow making what the other person did (ie. a perpetrator) all ok.
This is not the case. Forgiveness does not have to be anything to do with the other person at all. If you choose not to forgive, the pain, frustration and hurt stays with you. You suffer further. If anything you have a moral obligation to yourself to forgive, in order that you can stop the actions of another (for example) from having any further impact upon you.
Forgiveness is about you, about letting go and about not choosing to keep hanging onto things that are not healthy for you.
It is not easy, not at all. I have experienced much ambivalence with regard to this over the years, but the only way to let go of the pain at times, is to forgive.
You do not have to tell the other person, it is about you, not them. You are not making their actions or deeds ok, not at all. You are simply letting go of what you no longer need.
Hope that helps give some clarity 🙂
Thank you so much for that Adam. I am certainly going to give that a go.
Good on you Tracey 🙂