Forgiveness is defined as the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven. This is the old English definition of forgiveness and implies that forgiveness is only for situations involving more than one person but it also implies that a boundary is crossed.
Yes, forgiveness is important within relationships with others whether they be acquaintances, strangers, familiar, or romantic, but what about our relationship with ourselves. Forgiveness and the act of holding and communicating boundaries, especially when they have been crossed, is an art, a very delicate dance. How many times have we said “it’s ok” or “I’m fine” when we are absolutely not fine? It is time to learn the art of forgiveness and then the action of holding boundaries and space for one another so that we may heal.
Forgiveness with Boundaries
In October 2019 I started working with a mindset coach, and in October 2020 I became one. Forgiveness with boundaries has been one of the pillars of healing my mindset and something I enjoy teaching my clients so they can release hurt and move into healthier phases of their lives.
One of the first forgiveness tools I learned many years ago before even starting mindset work (I was doing the work I just didn’t know it at the time) is a forgiveness prayer called ho’oponopono
. This is a traditional Hawaiian prayer regarding forgives that allows you to practice the act of forgiveness without actually involving another person. This is particularly beneficial for unresolved hurts that perhaps will not be resolved in the traditional route of apologies and acceptance.
Forgiveness is still possible even if both parties are not participants. Sometimes the most beneficial forgiveness work actually comes from forgiving ourselves first. This then allows us to greet unpleasant situations and pain with a new sense of compassion and grace. In ho’oponopono the prayer goes, “I’m sorry, Please Forgive Me, I love you”, this is repeated over and over in a meditative state sometimes even sung as a melody.
The beauty of this prayer/meditation is that you can be reciting this to yourself, someone else, or the situation. The other beautiful part of this is it respects boundaries because it does not need to be done with a partner. So, if one or more parties in a situation requiring forgiveness still need space forgiveness can start to occur and a boundary can be held.
Forgiveness and Letting Go
We’ve all heard the phrase “forgive and forget”. This is almost humanly impossible because traumatic events or events that cause more visceral reactions such as extreme happiness or extreme pain are clinically more memorable because of where they are stored in the brain, the amygdala.
Let me disclaim as I talk about forgiveness and mental health that I am not saying we need to use forgiveness work to forgive abusers and move on. I am also not saying that forgiveness work is the answer to healing trauma, it is a tool that can be used with deeper therapeutic work to heal wounds that keep us from moving forward perhaps on a daily basis.
One of the therapeutic tools I learned from my mindset coach goes hand and hand with “The Work” by Byron Katie
. Byron Katie’s work allows us to test and challenge our judgments and belief systems about ourselves and others. It allows us to turn potential thought distortions or old mindset patterns around so that we may forgive, heal, and move forward. Once we figure out what our misunderstanding is by doing the work we can then forgive ourselves because that’s all our judgments are is misunderstandings.
For example, I may feel shame when my partner is upset with me for not making time to walk the dog. I may dig deeper and realize that this shame is actually connected to a deeper feeling or judgment about feeling unworthy of love which then sparks my need to people please. This cycle then begins to look like “I was unable to do the thing to make someone happy” that someone is then irritated or upset and I then feel as if I am unworthy of love because I couldn’t do the thing to provide this person ease, comfort, and happiness. So the forgiveness or turnaround looks like this “I forgive myself for the misunderstanding that I am unworthy of love because I didn’t walk the dog” and “The truth is I had a very busy day and although I didn’t have time to walk the dog I am still worthy of love.” This may sound all too simple, but the more we challenge our beliefs and judgments about ourselves the more we can notice destructive patterns that we are able to heal. I highly recommend the app “The Work” by Byron Katie or reading any of her books.
Now please find some of my favorite forgiveness quotes that I hope shine additional light and meaning on its power.
- “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”
Lewis B. Smedes
- “Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness.”
- “It’s not an easy journey, to get to a place where you forgive people. But it is such a powerful place, because it frees you.”
- “We think that forgiveness is weakness, but it’s absolutely not; it takes a very strong person to forgive.”
T. D. Jakes
If you feel like you are wanting more recipes, tips, and tricks on mental health, mindset, relationships, and a roadmap to living your healthiest life, I have lots more tips and tools for your toolbox where those came from.
All of my meal plans include access to hundreds of recipes and short, easy, all levels workouts. If you have any specific recipes you would like or fitness program questions, always feel free to reach out to me. My mindset work is all-encompassing and can help you release trauma abs roadblocks to ensure a more balanced and joyful life.
Thanks for reading. I hope this information was useful and finds you in a space of the heart. I’m just me, Sarah Roberts (Savino), MSW, RYT200, TBB Coach founder of team Indie Sols, figuring out what works for me and sharing it with you in hopes that it will make some positive changes for you as well!