Forgiveness: 3 Ways to Use the "F" Word

 I’m a huge fan of swearing, but that’s not what this blog post is about. It’s about a bigger, more powerful, “F” word that commonly gets thrown around in an idea state but rarely makes its way to actualization. Forgiveness, ah yes, that’s the one! Forgiveness has always been fairly easy for me. Perhaps it’s the Cancerian in me that repeatedly chooses to see the best in people even if that’s to my detriment, but I find offering and extending forgiveness to be something that I am so bad ass in that I would put it on my resume. Recently, however, I’ve stumbled across a lot of situations in my life that have required forgiveness all at once, which means it was time to call my skills front and center.

Maybe when I say that particular “F” word an image pops up of someone who hurt you. On the contrary, maybe you turn inward to look at where you’ve hurt or betrayed someone you care about. It's possible that as you see this image you also mutter a different “F” word under your breath (no judgment here). Let’s take a quick moment to assess how that negativity has served you. What has not forgiving done for you lately? Made you angry? Made you cry? Have you wasted an entire day obsessing or worrying? What is the purpose of drowning in the ocean when there’s a ton of life vests floating near by? It’s a bit stubborn. Being someone who is still actively working on forgiveness, I’ve compiled three perceptual ideas that have served me well in releasing negativity in my life and have given me permission to come into a place of forgiveness for myself and others. Are you ready?

1. Let’s start with “F”ing yourself. Self forgiveness is crucial for a variety of reasons, but mostly because not forgiving ourselves keeps us from being at our highest and best. It keeps our vibrational energy and mood low. Any area of your body, mind, or soul that holds negative energy acts a resistance from your full potential. The only way to hit your highest level of awesome is by taking out the metaphorical trash. Check yourself. Are you a person who holds yourself accountable for every fine detail of your life: words, actions, and other peoples' perceptions? Forgiveness, for you, may be something as simple as giving yourself permission to mess up on occasion. When we don't forgive ourselves our inner critic jumps in and completely demolishes our whole essence. You know what I'm talking about, it's that little voice that reminds you of how much you've sucked today, this week, this year, or perhaps its compiling scenes from your whole life. This critical voice can turn one moment of forgetfulness into a label that dictates who you are. It could be as simple as forgiving yourself for forgetting to pick up your daughter from school on a half day (that extended to the point that the school called you asking where on Earth you were). I know this because I’ve totally been that jerk mom, driving 80 down the highway, thinking how the hell could I have forgotten it’s a half day?

If this is you, this is a good place to take an assessment:

Is this common of me? Do I forget my kids everywhere? No, thank goodness.

Is there anything in this moment I can do to change what happened? Unfortunately, no.

What can I do differently next time? I can double check the school calendar and make sure I’ve got them all in my phone and my planner.

What else? Nothing. There’s nothing else I can do but let my daughter know that I love her and sometimes people make mistakes and are forgetful. Humans making mistakes are more normal that humans not making mistakes. We are so perfectly imperfect. Normalize it for yourself and remove the labels, you jerk mothers. Teaching the art of forgiveness will not only serve you, but everyone around you. Release the junk and try again next time.

Now, It could be bigger. I mean maybe you really messed up. Maybe you were like the superhero version of an Asshole, we will call you Captain A-Hole. I’m a true believer that people aren’t inherently awful. That people act like jerks because they are afraid of life, people, or sometimes of themselves. Whatever it is, fear is at the heart of all of it. Here’s the great news: Every single moment of every single day is a chance for a fresh start. You just have to decide it is. You don’t like the way you responded or did something? Apologize. Can’t apologize? Decide that you are going to do it differently starting from this moment on. What does it look like? Who are you going to be? We are not carved in stone. We are flexible and bendable which means so are our minds, bodies, and souls. I might even recommend grabbing a pen and paper and writing a forgiveness note to your self. You are still worthy and lovely in all that you are. The Course of Miracles would say that you are an extension of perfect love and anything that shows up in your life that is less than that means that you need more love, not less. So love on you, surround yourself with other people who love on you, oh and go “F” yourself.

2. Should we “F” others? “But they haven’t asked for forgiveness or given me a real reason to forgive them. Why on earth would I?" Why would you not? Look, we can't sit around all our lives waiting for that person to realize that what they did was shitty. If we are putting time in someone else's hands we could be holding onto this stuff until we are 97 and getting our anger out by playing Bingo passive aggressively in a nursing home somewhere. Think about the last time holding in anger, blame, or hurt did anything for you? Did it get you a free taco at Taco Bell? Probably not. Anger actually makes my vibrations so yucky that I find when I’m “anger-running” (A state of running fueled purely by being pissed off) that no one will hop on the treadmills next to me. Anger, blame, sadness, and hurt act as barriers to everything you want. You radiate pure crap when you are feeling like pure crap. We are what we feel and we attract what we are. So come to terms with the fact that this is not working for you. Ok, now what? I’m not like writing this jerk an “I forgive you” letter. Good news! You don’t have to, although it might not hurt to do this and just not send it. With every negative experience that we encounter there isa lesson in it. This is the crucial part where you figure out what the heck your lesson is here so you don’t have to repeat it. Is it self worth? Is it a better understanding of what you want versus what you don't want? Did this person enlighten you or introduce you to ideas or people that are going to be important to your future? Sometimes people are only meant to pass through and hand us, or inspire in us, tidbits of who we are going to be. One of my favorite metaphors is the idea that we are all in our own boats. Sailing the damn ocean, occasionally blindfolded, learning to adjust the sail as we go. At the end of the day, you can’t be worried about who is bumping into your boat. You just can’t. If you spend all your time worried about who and what’s bumping into your boat you will lose focus of steering it yourself. You might end up in Africa and not the “ride-on-elephants”-and-go-on-a-wicked-cool-safari type Africa, the version of Africa where they will sell your ass for diamonds. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Redirect your course by taking your power back and putting both hands on the wheel. What’s next? You decide! Maybe that decision also includes deciding that no one will treat you that way ever again.  Whatever it is write in down in your “I’m going to be way more bad ass than yesterday” journal and move along. A fun practice of truly coming into a space of forgiveness is sending that person some love and light, wrap them in a pink glittery bubble of love and send them wishes that they come back into alignment with themselves.

*A Note on Trauma: I understand I'm being fairly light hearted about all of this when there are some serious tragedies occurring in the world that aren't as easy as "I'm over it" and now I'm going to wash my hands and go. If you haven't sought help, love, and support I might recommend that you do this. For me, being a survivor has always looked like a serious appreciation for my insane resiliency and big heart despite that fact that I've seen some evil in the world. I deeply understand that I wouldn't be half the helper and healer that I am without having experienced some deep dark stuff. Baby steps. You decide when its time to reclaim your life. 

3. “F” every single moment. Now that we have cleared out the self punishment and the old baggage from other people that we covered in duct taped and shoved in the back of the closet, it’s time to put this practice into play a little more regularly so we don't end up on an episode of emotional hoarders. What if every single time you messed up you reminded yourself that you are doing the best you can? What if you corrected it right away instead of dragging its dead carcass into the future with you? We’d be doing ourselves a world of service.  Let me be clear, this does not give you permission to continue being a jerk. It gives you permission to wipe the slate clean and be a better version of you. Try it out next time you mess up, just simply say “I choose to forgive myself” or “I can and will do better”. Intervene before that inner critic starts cutting you down. If it’s someone else that you need to forgive like that guy who cut you off in traffic, choose to honor that they are doing the best they are capable of and know that no matter what they are doing in their boat you have total control over your own. Take ownership of every element of your life.

 Forgiveness is not linear. You might master it today and wake up tomorrow like “that mother trucker”! That’s okay. Take each moment of every day as an opportunity to try it again and if today isn’t the day, then set your intention that you aren’t willing to let anything weigh you down from tomorrow on. Onward and Upward Forgiveness Gurus – it’s time to leave the past where it belongs.