The Liberation of Letting Go

If unresolved anger is a toxin to the spirit, forgiveness is the antidote,” wrote Brian Luke Seaward in his book, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water: Reflections on Stress and Human Spirituality.

When you feel hurt, you may react with resentment, anger, rage, even hatred. While those reactions may seem justified given the circumstances, holding on to them can actually be even more detrimental to you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Nurturing old wounds and resentments is like tending weeds in a garden. The more care and attention you give them, the more they take over until there’s no room for healthy, uplifting feelings that could nourish you.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean condoning inappropriate behavior and excusing personal violations. It doesn’t mean giving up, hiding or denying what was done. To forgive doesn’t mean you forget that you were harmed. Or that you felt the way you did as a result. Nor is it an open invitation for the offender to do it again.

The Liberation of Letting Go

In The Process of Forgiveness (1996), William A. Meninger writes:

“When we forgive someone we say: ‘You are no longer to be allowed to govern my life. Henceforth I will be responsible for what I do—not as reactions to your infliction but from my own free decisions.’ Forgiveness is the decision that we have done enough futile hiding, suffering, hating, and fantasizing revenge. It is an awareness that the things we have done to ourselves do not affect our offenders, and that we are through hurting ourselves.”

Forgiveness is about detaching from inviting past events to continue to have any negative hold over you.

Forgiveness involves letting go of the feelings of anger or resentment, so that you can get on with your life. Forgiving is a process—sometimes slow—that heals wounds and returns our power to us. When you resist forgiving, you give control of your life to those who have hurt you.

When you detach from the self-destructive impact of shame and blame by embracing the constructive energy of forgiveness, you liberate and empower yourself instead.

The Journey of Forgiveness

It’s not as though you can simply decide to forgive someone and it is done. Forgiving is an active process. Getting from here to there is a journey.

  • Acknowledge all of your feelings. Though anger and resentment might be on top, beneath may lie feelings of hurt, betrayal, loss and grief. Uncovering these more tender emotions may be painful, but, like curves in the road, they are essential elements of the journey.
  • Stop blaming. So long as you hold someone else responsible for your feelings or circumstances, you don’t own your own life. You stop blaming by accepting total responsibility for your life and the choices you made.
  • Release any desire for revenge. The wish to inflict suffering or pain on the person who hurt us imprisons you in a place of suffering and pain. You cannot experience the freedom of forgiveness until you are willing to move away from the need to punish.
  • Learn to accept. While it may seem nearly impossible, the more you can quiet the judgmental voice in your head, the easier it will be to accept what has been and reclaim your power to move on. Author Wayne Dyer describes acceptance as forgiveness in action.
  • Decide to confront or not. Talking with the person who has harmed you may or may not be the best action to take. Professional coaching or counseling can help you make this decision.
  • Let go completely. Unconditional forgiveness means releasing all feelings of anger, resentment or animosity. “Sweet forgiveness cannot hold any taste of bitterness,” says Brian Luke Seaward. “When feelings of anger are released, the spirit once held captive by the encumbrance of anger is free to journey again.”

Forgiving Yourself

Forgiveness is not just an outward expression toward others. Turning the liberating energy of forgiveness inward is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. When you forgive yourself, you accept responsibility for your choices, acknowledge your human limitations, practice self-acceptance and resolve to choose more constructively in the future. These actions are essential for a life of flow filled with faith, hope, prosperity, peace and joy.

Through action or inaction, out of fear, pain or confusion, you may injure yourself or others. But when you refuse to forgive, you sentence yourself to an existence weighted down by shame and blame. In that state, you’re no good to yourself or anybody else.

Learning to fuel yourself with constructive core energy grounded in love, respect, curiosity, compassion and gratitude will enhance your life choices. And, for those times when you feel you’ve drifted off the path, make self-forgiveness easier.

The formula for making them a way of life is simple to explain. In every situation, love yourself enough to pay attention to every aspect of your life. Respect everything you are experiencing—what you are thinking, feeling, deciding, saying and doing. Determine whether the energy underneath is love or fear. If it’s love, you are probably on your authentic path. If it’s fear, demonstrate compassion for yourself. Foster gratitude by reminding yourself that everything is an opportunity. Then further neutralize the fear by bringing curiosity to bear. Explore every aspect of the situation, especially your internal landscape, and identify all of the opportunities available to you through this unique experience. As with any new skill, practice will help this way of being become a healthy new habit—your automatic response to every situation.

Forgiveness cannot be forced. Sometimes, it won’t come easily. Like many other skills we benefit from learning, self-forgiveness takes practice. When you find you are unable to immediately release the past and move on, embrace it as an opportunity to be forgiving of yourself and continue to practice the art of forgiveness.

Author’s content adapted under license, © 2008 Claire Communications

 

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“I knew Deborah before she became a Professional Life Coach. I’ve been amazed at how she has changed her life. When I decided it was time to begin making decisions about the next phase of my life, I knew immediately that Deborah was the person I wanted to work with. Her personal and professional experiences help her guide clients through coaching in a way that is individualized and delightfully eye-opening. Her warmth and sensitivity are immediately apparent, even over the phone. With gentle encouragement and permission, she will guide you through an examination of your life, including difficult experiences. She will help you gain insight from your past choices and then explore possibilities for moving forward in less encumbered ways. When you work with Deborah, your life will take on new meaning and your potential will be limitless!” Chris

“The work I did with Deborah continues to change my life. While I have learned many valuable lessons from her, the greatest was the deep insight that is available to me when I listen to and learn from my own inner wisdom. Her intuition, discernment and encouragement have taught me to trust my own intuition—creating new paths and possibilities for my life. One of Deborah’s great gifts is helping others respect and connect with their inner guidance and through that connection, to form a deeper, more meaningful bond with the collective wisdom and energy of all.” Ryan

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“With the same energy and determination she applied in the professional world, Deborah has taken her considerable expertise in human potential and has now set her sights on the largest co-op in the world, humanity. ‘Choose Your Energy, Change Your Life!’ tackles what I believe are the most important questions we each must ask: who am I, where did I come from, why am I here, and what’s love got to do with it (cue Tina Turner)? These are not trivial or philosophical questions for the answers change what we do, why we do it, who and what we love. I am grateful for the opportunity to walk with Deborah on this critical journey.” JD Messenger, Award Winning Author of “11 Days in May: The Conversation That Will Change Your Life”

“To me the great thing about Deborah’s book is how ‘accessible’ she makes the ideas. The Oxygen Mask is probably the single best example. As with so many of the ideas in the book, she explains the principle in such a simple way that it’s got universal application to virtually any reader. I can imagine people having multiple moments of ‘Oh….I get it!’ throughout the book. The stories from her own life as well as stories of her clients’ experiences become stories about all of us—stories about which the reader will think, ‘I am living my own version of this.’ Well done—bravo!” Joe Calloway, Author of “Be The Best At What Matters Most”

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About djwlifecoach

As a coach, author, speaker, singer, artist, consultant, radio host, Reiki Master and EFT/tapping practitioner, I share hope, possibilities and empowerment with the world. What's love got to do with minimizing stress and getting unstuck? 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. 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, including a sustained 80-pound weight loss and freedom from 10 years of debilitating depression, led to finding my purpose guiding others on their journeys. Through healing and self-exploration, I discovered that loving yourself unconditionally is the key to transforming your personal life, your work and the world. With attention and intention, I learned to live in alignment with love through a wealth of energy-shifting tools and techniques that help me reduce stress, anxiety and overwhelm by releasing limiting beliefs, emotions and habits. 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. To learn more about my work in the world, visit djwlifecoach.com. Subscribe to my blog at tiny.cc/djwblog. Listen to my radio show at tiny.cc/djwradio. View my author video and book trailer at tiny.cc/djwauthorvideo and tiny.cc/djwbooktrailer. Access 40+ tapping resources at tiny.cc/djwtaps. Send email to deborah@djwlifecoach.com. For fun, I love singing, reading, sewing, knitting and movies. I live in Williamsburg, Virginia with my husband, Wilson, and the three coaching cats who manage my life—SiddhaLee, Mortimer and Maisy Jane.
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