I was in downward dog on my yoga mat getting ready to start a much-needed hip opening vinyasa class. As an attempt to do something for myself everyday, I had been regularly attending yoga classes and was starting to feel much better. October was a rough month for me when I looked back on it, and it had seriously taken a toll on my spirit. My conscious effort to treat myself kindly seemed to have been just the start I needed to get back on my feet and get back to the old, happy me.
While I was in the position with my head swinging between my arms, the yoga teacher mentioned for this class we should consider three things. One of them was who do you want to forgive and the other was what do you want to forgive yourself for? Those two questions immediately had an impact on me as I tried to fight the potential stream of tears away.
Sounds dramatic, I know. Forgiveness is one of those words, like love, that gets thrown around all the time. I had become so desensitized to the notion of forgiveness that I gave it no thought at all. I never even considered that forgiveness could have been the missing element for my path back to happiness.
Immediately I realized that my lack of forgiveness to those who have hurt me and to myself had created this huge burden that weighed heavily on me. I had been carrying this burden on my back for the last month and I was starting to break underneath it.
It was in that moment on the mat that I made the absolute, conscious decision to forgive someone who I felt had wronged me. Again, I tried my best to avoid the tears. I was holding on to so much anger towards this person that it often ruined my day or soiled my mood. I had to realize that this anger was coming from a place inside me that was hurting. In order for me to let go of the hurting I had to unconditionally forgive.
The second question was a bit harder as I thought about what I wanted to forgive myself for. This was a notion that I had never, ever thought about. Forgiving myself? I, like most people, am my own worst critic. I can tear myself apart if I don’t keep my thoughts in check. I realized this last month I had been so busy worrying about things out of my control that I didn’t give myself the space to really enjoy anything at all. Any moment of happiness was instantly clouded by fear or worry. I decided to forgive myself for not having faith that it would all work out. Forgiving myself triggered me into understanding just how unkind I had been to myself. Just like that the missing element was found.
I cannot tell you how freeing that experience was for me. I am someone who has always struggled with forgiveness. I was always one of those get over it but never forget kinda gals. How do you know when you haven’t forgiven someone? When you think about them or they’re name gets mentions and you instantly find yourself getting upset. That moment on the mat was one of the most powerful experiences I have ever felt. I left that class feeling weightless, free, proud and grateful. I know just how annoying the word forgiveness can be, or how easy it is to cast to the side. But take my word for it, it really works. Life hasn’t gotten magically perfect or anything, and it is something I have to intentionally think about everyday but it’s worth it. If you can’t do it for the person who hurt you, the least you can do is do it for yourself.
Check out this article on 10 reasons to choose forgiveness I found it really helpful as well.5