The Freedom of Forgiveness

Our exploration of the principles shared by Bruce D. Schneider in his book, Energy Leadership, continues with the topic of forgiveness. Many people have difficulty forgiving others because they mistakenly believe that, in forgiving, they are condoning—and potentially encouraging the repetition of—a particular act or behavior. The primary dictionary definition of forgiveness is “to excuse for a fault or an offense; pardon.” The Energy Leadership perspective on forgiveness goes deeper—forgiveness involves releasing the self-destructive catabolic energy of judgment and blame so that you can move forward. In this definition, the concepts of “wrong” or “right” fade as we recognize that whatever we are aren’t forgiving is imprisoning and holding us back.

The Freedom of Forgiveness

Forgiveness isn’t about saying what the other person did was fine and didn’t hurt. It’s about detaching from inviting the event to continue to have any negative hold over you. When you forgive, you detach from the destructive impact that fanning the catabolic flames of blame has on you by embracing the anabolic energy of forgiveness to liberate and empower yourself instead.

Forgiveness is a superpower. One of the biggest shifts you can make to remove catabolic energy from your life is to forgive others. In the seven levels of energy described in his book, Bruce identifies Level 3 as the one at which your energetic balance shifts from predominantly fear-fueled, constricting, restricting, destructive catabolic energy to a preponderance of love-fueled, expanding, empowering, constructive anabolic energy. The key emotion associated with that shift at Level 3 is forgiveness. You make that uplifting shift every time you forgive those you feel have wronged you in some way.

At first glance, forgiving someone else can seem like an impossible task. If you are like many, when you believe the other person did something wrong, didn’t show you respect, undermined you, hurt you or violated one of your core values, your first reaction is to feel hurt, upset, angry or resentful. You blame them and maybe even crave revenge. Think of a situation in your life, current or past, where someone did something that you haven’t forgiven. How do you still feel when you think about it? Sit with those emotions for a moment, fully embracing them and noticing how they feel in your body, mind, heart and soul. Then read on.

Dwelling on that past unforgiven offense probably didn’t cause you to feel loved, encouraged, peaceful, relaxed and calm. Every time you rehash painful past experiences, you are choosing to re-injure yourself by generating the same toxic cortisol stress cocktail in your system that you originally fostered during your chosen reaction to the initial experience. Holding onto anger and resentment hurts you much more than it can ever hurt the other person.

Harnessing catabolic energy to lash out at the offender may temporarily restore a false sense of power. But that “good feeling” will quickly fade as the poisonous catabolic energy you are harboring inside you continues to eat away at you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually—blocking you from having the life you really want and being the person you want to be.

One of my favorite forgiveness quotes comes from St. Augustine, “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.” By not forgiving, you are only hurting yourself. If you spend most of your energetic resources on blame and anger, you’ll have little left to invest in more constructive, life affirming engagement. By not forgiving, the hurt to yourself goes on and on.

How can you release those feelings? Take responsibility for what you are thinking and feeling and realize that you have the power to make things better for yourself. As Bruce D. Schneider is fond of saying, “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” Give yourself one of the greatest gifts–choose to forgive others. Realize that in order for you to feel like a winner, someone else doesn’t have to lose. Remember that others are always doing the best they can in each moment with the love and light they have concerning the circumstances they are facing.

Look for the gift and opportunity in whatever’s happened. Change your perspective. Think of forgiving in a different way and thank the other person for giving you an experience that you are going to use to help you learn and grow.

Choose your energy: change your life!

Eager to explore the greater liberation to be found in strengthening your ability to forgive?  Sign up below for a 60-minute complimentary coaching session.

Web copy used by permission. No reproduction or retransmission is permitted without expressed written consent of Bruce D Schneider and the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). ©2006-2016 Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC)


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About djwlifecoach

I am retired from 40+ years of helping individuals and teams build lives and organizations they love. One of the great joys of my retirement from professional practice is having greater bandwidth to donate my professional and creative talents to support and promote animal and social welfare charities. During my 30 years as an organization transformation consultant, I served as a senior partner in four of the world’s largest, most prestigious global professional services firms. In 2005, I took a five-year sabbatical to find healing and peace because non-stop work had taken its toll. My recovery from burnout led to finding my purpose guiding others on their journeys. As a board-certified coach, author, consultant, radio host, Reiki Master and EFT/tapping practitioner, I share hope, possibilities and empowerment with the world. 111419 DJW Sid CH Pet Corner Photo ShootI help clients achieve rapid, extraordinary, sustainable results by connecting who they are with what they do, a connection often lost through stress and the sheer busy-ness of daily life. Courageous self-awareness and unconditional self-love lead to honest choices based on priorities that nurture you and those around you on a journey to wholeness. Decades in coaching, consulting, change management, organization development, human resources and mixed media artistic expression honed my business sense, professionalism, creativity, intuition, leadership and communication skills. The result? Practical tools that help you become more insightful, creative, committed, productive and fulfilled. Even the most dedicated and hard-working individuals can shift from frustration to a sense of futility when their values, passion, work, and lives become disconnected. One of the problems with not taking care of our health is that the effects of ignoring it are often slow to show up. We continue to juggle family responsibilities, work and finances until we lose ourselves, waking up one day 50 pounds heavier in body and soul—no good to ourselves or anyone else. I love working with people who are ready to take life-changing action to make their dreams a reality. At each moment, you have inside you all the wisdom you seek to choose your life and your way of showing up. Limiting thoughts, beliefs and feelings can block you from moving forward. An absence of love and concern for yourself can result in negative head talk that holds you back with discouraging messages about who you are and what you can do. By listening and caring deeply, I guide you in connecting with your own inner wisdom. We identify the way you’d like to live. We determine what’s blocking you and release you from the hold those blocks have over you—unleashing the positive energy that will fuel you forward. Together we develop a plan to move you closer to your heart’s desire. My books, blog, radio show and signature coaching programs help individuals and organizations harness the transformative energy of love to turn unexplored possibilities into fulfilling realities and step into their greatness. What’s love got to do with it? Everything! My book, Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life! (Hay House/ Balboa Press 2013) shares my story and the stories of 10 of my clients along with my signature Discovery Framework. For fun, I love reading, sewing, knitting, yin yoga, afternoon tea, opera and movies. I live in Williamsburg, Virginia with my spouse, Wilson Abney, and the cat who runs our life, Maisy Jane.
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