Every year, when BlogElul rolls around, the prompt “forgive” is part of it. And every year I realize I cannot find a better way of framing it than something I heard from Oprah Winfrey years ago. So I’ll simply allow Ms. Winfrey’s words to inform today’s post:
“Dr. Gerald Jampolsky put it to me this way years ago on The Oprah Show. It was a big old aha moment that I’ve accepted now as spiritual law when he said:
“Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.”
I repeat that. Forgiveness is giving up the hope that what would have, could have, should have happened, in fact…it did not happen. It’s accepting the reality of what did happen, and moving on. This truth has been fundamental in allowing me to live my best life. It was transformative. You have to come to the realization that what might have been, is not what is.
Easy to hear, I know, and harder to do. You’ve got to sit with the hurt, feel it. It’s uncomfortable. But, when you can rise up and just really meet that pain face to face and then let it flow through you, only then can you let it go and step out of the hurt of your history into the possibility of the present. I’ve carried this lesson from Iyanla Vanzant with me for some time. I remember years ago on the show she said:
“You can accept or reject the way you are treated by other people. But until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed. You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex. But eventually it’s going to ooze through and stain your life. You must find the strength to open up the wounds, stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past—the memories—and make peace with them.”