Last week, we talked about family drama. A critical key to stopping the drama in our lives is forgiveness. I get it. Most people don’t want to hear about forgiveness. It’s not a sexy word, we feel the other person doesn’t deserve it and it is too much work! But we do the work of forgiveness when we understand that the person who suffers the most from unforgiveness is the one who fails to forgive!
Let’s be real, betrayal can run a wide gamut. It can range from finding out that your husband cheated on you to finding out that your job has promoted the person you trained to be your new manager. When we choose to trust people, we actually open up our hearts and souls to them in an intimate way. We make ourselves vulnerable. So when that trust is betrayed, it can cause emotional damage that sometimes feels impossible to define.
One moment we feel stupid for opening our hearts, naïve for instilling trust and then outright angry because someone we valued didn’t value us. But in order to move forward, we have to figure out how to put unforgiveness behind us. Otherwise, we run the danger of limiting the possibility, potential and hope for our future.
I believe one of the reasons we struggle with forgiveness is because we don’t know what it really is. Some people teach that to forgive something means we act as if it never happened. But that isn’t true—to forgive means we release others from an emotional debt caused by past actions. It does NOT mean, however, that we relinquish our right to have healthy boundaries when dealing with the offending (and possibly unapologetic) individual as we move forward.
Whatever drama you’re in, here are some keys to help you prepare your mind and heart for forgiveness:
1. Forgiveness Is A Process: It would be awesome if a relationship could simply move back to the pre-offense state after there has been a breach in trust. But depending on the severity of the issue, sometimes it can’t. Be realistic with yourself and others as you work through to forgiveness. If you’ve decided that you want to keep the relationship, then get clear on what it will take for true healing to begin. Yes, time is one factor. But just as sitting on a couch over time doesn’t get your body in shape. Sitting on the couch and not working on your relationship won’t fix the problem either.
2. Unforgiveness Doesn’t Make You Powerful: Unforgiveness makes us feel powerful. We really believe that we are exercising some type of control over the situation and the other person. But the reality is that people have the right to make choices outside of your forgiveness. They can choose to terminate the relationship if you’re not working to move to a better place over time. Forgiving someone will not make you weaker. True strength is recognizing what is best for you and having the courage to do it.
3. Forgiveness is Not Fantasy: Forgiveness is necessary for our growth. However, we are responsible for examining the patterns of behavior in our relationships. Just because you forgive someone doesn’t mean they are going to change. We forgive with intelligence and grace—meaning we give others the freedom to change, but we do so with realistic expectations rooted in reality, not our wishful fantasies.
Do Your Work! If you’re dealing with unforgiveness, identify the thoughts keeping you stuck.
Define Your Wealth! “I choose my best future! I release unforgiveness so I can move forward.”
Named the “North America’s Next Greatest Speaker” by eWomenNetwork, Coach Felicia is a Certified Executive Coach who empowers her clients to “Turn their Worth into Wealth” as she partners with them to DISCOVER their WORTH, DO their WORK and DEFINE their WEALTH. Get more insight, download the FREE “8 Choices Winners Must Make!” seminar MP3 at www.coachfelicia.com!