Forgiving someone sets us free.
Forgiveness means to love someone for who they are and not for who you want them to be. It doesn’t ever excuse the behaviour. It doesn’t let someone off the hook. Forgiveness frees your heart to love. It doesn’t invite the behaviour back into your life. You can forgive someone and love someone and still not want them and their behaviour in your life.
“Love people for who they are, not for who you want them to be” ~ Anita Moorjani
Being loving doesn’t ever mean being okay with being treated badly. If anything it means being loving to yourself and others and only accepting behaviour that you truly want in your life. There are times when people won’t treat us well and we have to love ourselves enough to remove them from our lives. We can still love them and forgive them but love ourselves enough that we won’t have them back.
A few years ago I holding a coaching session for a chap who was stuck with a manager that he couldn’t stand and they clashed heads often, during our coaching session he was seriously contemplating leaving the company just so he didn’t have to deal with this manager anymore. It was my job to support him to consider solutions to his problem, he had options, he could leave, or he could find a way to stay. He didn’t want to leave because the money was good and he liked his colleagues, so we rested on the idea of shifting his mindset about his manager. In that moment, I came up with one of my most useful phrases; “It’s not his fault he’s not who you want him to be”.
This phrase takes a lot of the angst and friction out of a relationship because it reminds us that we both play a role in a relationship and removes blame effortlessly. We did a forgiveness exercise where we forgave the manager for not being what he wanted in a manager, had a meeting where he established his expectations from the manager moving forwards and they slowly began to forge a working relationship together.
I think it’s important to know that we can forgive the person without inviting the act we’ve forgiven back into our lives. If the person who wronged us asks for our forgiveness we can give it (if we feel ready), we can also tell them that we love them but we don’t like the way they behave, we can tell someone that we forgive them but we’re not ready to consider having them back in our lives yet, we can like someone but not love them. We are complicated and complex and wonderful emotional beings.
Forgiveness is a freeing act, it’s a loving act and the way I test if I’ve forgiven someone properly is to recite a phrase and feel how my body reacts to the words. The phrase is: “I forgive you, XXXXX, I release you XXXXX, I love you XXXXX and I wish you all the love and happiness I wish for myself”. Sometimes I can’t get through the whole sentence without flinching or pulling a pained expression, it’s pretty obvious when I’ve not fully forgiven someone because round about the words ‘all the love and happiness I wish for myself’ I almost stop speaking because it’s not true. Try it out. Say the words for someone you have nothing to forgive and see how easily and lovingly the words come out. Then say the words for someone you’re in the process of forgiving and notice the difference!
“I forgive you, XXXXX, I release you XXXXX, I love you XXXXX and I wish you all the love and happiness I wish for myself”
Let me know how it goes in the comments 🙂