Gratitude and Forgiveness

Absolute forgiveness is a state in which we perceive, beyond doubt, there is nothing to forgive. When we are filled with love and gratitude for everything that has led to this moment, we have an instinctive understanding that there are no mistakes. We develop a deep self-compassion and a limitless sense of love. We come to see that, had we not had the experiences that impacted us (even leaving scars in their wake), we would not be who we are today.

When we come to truly know we are exactly who we were born to be, we surrender our hold on all past resentments. Gratitude for all our experiences emerges. The healing power of forgiveness enables us to come to a deeper awareness of our true nature. In fact, the belief we are anything less than whole because of something that “happened to” us in the past falls away.

I realize to those who are now suffering from the wounds of the past, the concept that there is nothing to forgive sounds absurd. My aspiration is that you will feel a ray of hope that warms you to the possibility of being so free from the bonds of the past, your perception of them as wounds will transform. It is wholly possible to begin to see your painful experiences as building blocks that will lead you to manifest your highest truth and your deepest peace.

However, we do not need to get to the point of absolute forgiveness to experience the joy and compassion only accessible through forgiveness. You can come to realize greater peace, power, clarity, energy, and ease without ever coming to believe there is nothing to forgive.

Throughout the process of forgiveness, you have the capacity to experience shifts that will bring you closer to clarity and neutrality. You will be able to look at your past clearly without being imprisoned by it.

Let’s look at another definition of forgiveness that embodies the essence of the experience as we move through this wondrous healing process together:

Forgiveness is a process of self-actualization in which we choose to move through hurt feelings such as shame, anger, and resentment in favor of self-compassion, self-love, and empathy.

Simply put, self-actualization (a term originally introduced by Kurt Goldstein) is the realization of one’s potential. Forgiveness contributes to our actualization because it liberates us from the past. Living to one’s potential implies the growth of latent qualities or abilities, the development of our full selves.  However, we cannot do this if we are in a state of withholding forgiveness, either for ourselves or others. When we choose not to forgive, whether we consciously know it or not, we are inhibiting our growth and our potential. Our energy is consumed by regret, resentment, or righteous indignation. While these reactions may seem perfectly justified, they never allow us to move beyond a confining perception of the past.

The only moment we can create new possibilities is the present moment. Right now. We cannot create in the future.  We cannot create in the past. If we are tied to the past via perceived psychological or spiritual injury, we are giving away our power to manifest. Forgiveness breaks those ties and allows us to live boldly in the present moment.

Excerpt from The Power of Forgiveness: A Guide to Healing and Wholeness