Lately, the concept of forgiveness has been just about everywhere in my atmosphere. I’ve read other blog posts about it, my pastor preached about it, my YouTube faves have recorded videos on it, etc. So I took all of this as a sign that I need to sit down & do some real forgiving in my own personal life.
Well, what does it mean to forgive? According to Google it means:
“To stop feeling angry or resentful towards someone for an offense, flaw, or mistake.”
I think it was in July when I purchased 21 Days of Forgiveness by Iyanla Vanzant & decided to embark on my “forgiveness journey”. Fast forward to September, & I had only completed 1 day of the 21 days. So at the beginning of the month, I decided to restart the book & begin my journey anew.
My intentions this time are much clearer than they were the first. This time, I’m actually being intentional about forgiving people (& myself), & I’m more willing to put forth the work to do so. I owe that to my growing relationship with God & my desire to be open to all that He has to offer.
So I had to ask myself why is this forgiveness journey important to me.
The first thing I realized was that if I want to be forgiven for my sins & the things I have done to other people, I first need to forgive people myself. I can’t expect God to forgive me if I’m harboring ill feelings & holding grudges toward people around me.
Forgiving people is healthy–when you forgive people, you release a lot of negative energy. Forgiving people heals mental & spiritual wounds & brings peace into your life.
Starting on this forgiveness journey made me realize that I was carrying a lot of baggage around, & I didn’t even realize it. I also didn’t realize how hard it is to truly forgive people. I think sometimes we say we forgive a person but still carry around feelings or resentment. But when you forgive a person you have to let all of that go & move on. It takes time, & for me isn’t something that I could do just in one moment. So I have taken a pause in the 21 Days of Forgiveness to really focus on the areas of forgiving that I assessed in the first few days.
I decided to make a list of people who I felt that I was holding a grudge against. Some of those people I reached out to, to apologize for my part in the demise of our relationship, & some people I had to just work through issues with on my own. It was a huge relief that I was able to rekindle friendships with two women I really cared about. Both of them were very good to me during the time right after my Granny passed, & I was in such a negative place emotionally, that I wasn’t open to receive the love they were giving in their own ways. Thankfully, after the dust settled, I was able to recognize this & make some much needed amends.
Working through these relationships also caused me to learn how to forgive myself. I’m human, & I make mistakes. Sometimes I do or say things that I am not proud of–these things happen…& when they do, I have to be willing to forgive myself so that I can continue to grow and mature. Forgiving myself is not always easy, because it means that I have to admit that I was wrong, which is not always comfortable.
Do you need to start your own forgiveness journey? First start with forgiving yourself. Forgive your mind & your body. Once you have forgiven yourself, you can begin to start to forgive other people. Ask yourself if there are people in your life that you are holding grudges against. Make a list of those people & see if there are any relationships that are worth salvaging, & reach out to those people. This is not an invitation to open a bunch of closed doors, but it is important to make sure you don’t have any negative ties out in the world. Everyone deserves forgiveness even those people who have wronged us in the worst ways. Forgiveness takes time, but you have to make sure that you truly forgive. You can’t half forgive someone, it’s all or nothing. Once you start forgiving yourself & other people, you open up room for so much more positivity in your life.