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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Can You Forgive?


When your father walked out on you, your siblings, and your mother, your life changed drastically. Now, decades later, it still lives on in your mind, as you remember how difficult things were, and how - about 15 months after he left - you caught a glimpse of him one day on the street in the company of another woman, much younger and less stressed-looking than your mother, who had a baby in her arms. Your father had just hugged her and kissed the baby, and you felt such agony. You also felt rage. And you remember it to this day. How could you forget how he affected all your lives?

When you found your high school love - the first girl you ever went to bed with - making out with your best buddy - you were both on the basketball team - something shrivelled up inside of you and died. With that one act she took away your self-esteem. It took you years to work your way out of that. And your best buddy. After a shoving match with him after having found the two of them there, you never spoke to him again. And you never found a friend again with whom you shared the way you used to with him - before you realized what a traitor he was. Even when you ran into that first girl friend again recently, now that you're both in your forties, and you saw how she had gained weight and lost her youthful sparkle and attraction, you felt no sense of satisfaction, only pain in the memory of what happened that devastating day.

Have you noticed the common thread that runs through each of these vignettes? You remember what happened with a great deal of emotion, almost as though you were reliving the painful incident.

What's new about that, you may ask. Of course I relive the painful moment. How else could I react? Do you expect me to forget it?


Not exactly. Although there is an element of forgetting it involved in what I am about to write.

What I'd like you to think about is this: by remembering, by bringing it back into your mind over and over again - even though you only do it once a week or once a month - you maintain the freshness of the pain. Reliving a painful situation in your mind is tantamount to reliving it in reality ... have you not noticed how the tears can flow again and again, or the red-hot anger can flare over and over ... even though decades have passed?

Of course, you say, of course the tears flow or the anger flares. After all, what happened was very painful...

Let's switch to another topic for a moment: you've read about The Law of Attraction, the power of intention, heard about the movie or book The Secret, etc. Maybe you've even read some of the multitude of books about the subject. If so, you know the insistence of all these authors on one central philosophy: what you think about becomes your reality ... thoughts become things ... as a man thinketh, so shall he be ... and of course, all of these authors are encouraging you to imagine in your head, to visualize, or create scenarios in your head to the point where you can literally feel yourself inside of them, and feel the emotion or excitement that would be part of your life if your "scenario" were already a reality. They are basically stating that by so doing, that "scenario" you are so vividly imagining will eventually become a part of your life. That is the power of the law of attraction.

Now let's back track to our original subject. You reliving and remembering painful or traumatic experiences from the past to the point of physical manifestations such as tears of bursts of anger. Is that not the same as what I've just discussed in the previous paragraph, but in a negative version? You keep thinking about - visualizing - imagining - that event from the past to the point of making it a reality in your present life in the sense of how it affects you. In other words, it affects you as much as it might if it were actually happening now. So you have made it into a part of your current reality.

Is that what you want? Is that how you want to live your life?

Nothing stops you from hanging on to your anger or your pain, but only the decision to make new choices stops you from continuing on this desperate treadmill of pain. Making a new choice would be to say to yourself that for your sake, for your peace of mind, you will forgive whoever it was that treated you so badly, so that you can live a good life now. So that you no longer have to continue to relive the pain.

That is all it takes: a choice of dealing with the past differently. You decide, you choose, and your life changes. It is literally as simple as that. So when you get the old thoughts that lead you to the pain you literally say to them no, not today, thanks, I've got better stuff to do than to let you bother me again. Instead of you I'm going to think about what I want to accomplish, or I'm going to shift my energy.

Do it for yourself, and not only you will benefit, but all those whose lives you touch.


Photo: Sukhothai Temple, Thailand






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