Healing with an Open Heart
Although we can understand the ideas behind forgiveness and see its wisdom, the process of bringing forgiveness into our lives and applying it to situations where we are wounded and angry can be challenging.
Having an open heart is the best protection against being hurt. Vulnerability is something we try to avoid, but in reality, looking at each situation and person with an open heart strengthens you no matter if someone harms you or treats you unfairly.
Closing down your heart and never finding it within yourself to learn to forgive doesn’t protect you from pain. @DerekONeill101 (Click to Tweet!)
On the contrary, you will ultimately have more suffering if you attach to the anger that arose from the hurt. Vulnerability is one of the greatest strengths a person has. If you are vulnerable, you will never be hurt, but if you are angry and fearful, then hurt is on the way – if it has not already arrived! Vulnerability is having the courage to say to people, “I am not perfect. Here are some of my faults. Here is what I’m working on in my life right now.”
Your response to what happens in your life is what will define you. The thoughts in your mind are your reality; nothing can get in past that. You need to shift this, you need to understand that you’ve given the best you can at any particular moment and that you have the power to change the lens you see it through. An open heart allows hurt to pass through. An open heart has compassion for those people who have caused you harm.
An open heart is the start to understanding the truths that have brought you to this place and time. There are many truths in your life, revealed over time.
If forgiveness is part of that journey, you can gain deeper insight into who you are, and how to let go of the painful emotions that keep you from where you are going.
Right vs. Wrong
It is important that we don’t look at forgiveness as “you vs. them,” or “good vs. evil,” or “right vs. wrong.” If you dive deep into the waters of anger and resentment, there is no real enemy except you. Good and evil exist together all the time. They are just the other side of the same coin. We don’t need to conquer evil. We want to build up, not strike down. Forgiveness is the embodiment of an open heart. We cannot control the actions of anyone but ourselves. We cannot expect other people to greet us with the same open heart and love we offer them. Expectations will always lead to unhappiness. The answer is within you, not the external world.
The most difficult person in our lives to forgive is our self. We may have been told at an early age that certain things were our fault. There could be situations in your life that you feel were the result of what you perceive as mistakes. We go into a mindset of lack and start to feel there is something we have done to not deserve more joy. If you follow these thought patterns, they will be your reality. It’s perfectly fine to watch these feelings arise, then acknowledge them, but it’s important to let them go. Too many people have made negative, blaming thoughts become a way of beating themselves up, so much so that many are not even aware of it. They allow self-critical thought patterns to play repeatedly in their mind. You can use forgiveness to correct those thought patterns in a loving, expansive way instead of turning inward towards obsessive thoughts.
You are where you are for a reason. You made the decisions that you did at any particular time because of what you brought to the process. In hindsight, we see the error of our ways or why we may have believed something, but unless we forgive ourselves we will never move forward. Someone could look like they are progressing in their life, but actually be a prisoner to self-destructive, punishing thoughts. You must forgive yourself.
The choices that you have made in your life have been for a purpose. If you see that fact through a lens of self-forgiveness you will realize that everybody that appears in your life is a mirror or a message. They reveal to you who you are and what you might need to look at in order to effect the change you want to see in yourself. It must start from a place of self-love and self-forgiveness – this is the path of wisdom.
Derek O’Neill, fondly referred to as the Celtic Sage, inspires and uplifts people from all walks of life, offering guidance to influential world leaders, businesses, celebrities, athletes and everyday people alike. Distilled from his life work in psychotherapy, a martial arts career and study with wise yogis and Indian and Tibetan masters, Derek translates ancient wisdom into modern day teachings to address the biggest challenges facing humanity today. For additional insights listen to his free radio archives or order his book on Forgiveness.
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