For the first time in twenty years, I spent Father’s Day with my father.

I spent it in a hospital room, taking care of my disoriented, confused dad who had suffered a stroke during emergency open heart surgery.

My relationship with my dad has always been complicated – great love and also lots of pain and abuse – so it felt really strange to touch him so much, to bathe him with cool water which felt really good to him, to feed him with a spoon like I did with my children.

Deeply uncomfortable and foreign at first. Too intimate.

And then very gratifying.

As I meditated one morning before driving to the hospital, I realized what a gift it was to be able to drop everything and be there to take care of my father.

He told the nurse when I arrived how much he loved me. How smart and beautiful I am.

I don’t remember him ever saying these things to me before.

The little girl inside me loved hearing them.

And the grown woman that I am knows that being here, taking care of him, making a meditation practice out of doing it consciously, with great love, reverence and attention is the way to forgiveness and peace.

For him. And for me.

I meditated on forgiveness and realized that:

Forgiveness is for ourselves.

Forgiveness is not about condoning anything the other person did or forgetting. It’s about transforming our anger and hurt into acceptance and peace so we can be free.

Living with an open, loving heart feels much better than living with an angry, resentful one.

We forgive for ourselves and our own peace of mind, not for the other person.

The best way to forgiveness and peace is through acts of loving care and service.

Only when the time is right and we are ready, but when we are, it feels liberating and beautiful.

Giving and serving from the heart is like coming full circle. @natmatushenko (Click to Tweet!)

It lets us know that we have forgiven and healed and are now free.

Forgiveness is the best gift you can give yourself and your heart. DO IT NOW, FOR YOU.

Who do you need to forgive? What are you waiting for?

Forgiveness is for ourselves.

Natalie Matushenko is a multi-cultural certified life and business coach, writer, speaker, soul mama and adventuress. Since 2001, she has been helping soulful, go-getters turn their many ideas, talents and passions into successful purpose driven businesses and creative projects while thriving in their relationships and creating lives they love. Natalie currently lives in South America with her husband and three daughters, traveling the world in deep cultural immersion whenever they can. You can find her via her website, on Facebook or on Twitter.