How did I learn to forgive?
This question has been the bane of my existence for 3 years now. Every event I speak at, I get asked that question and I truly can’t answer it. I am very good at beating around the bush.
I wrote a few weeks ago begging my mother to forgive herself and I thought if she could see herself through my eyes, it would work. Well it didn’t and that same question is haunting me in my shadows. How could I expect someone to forgive themselves but I don’t even know how I forgave them? Was it love? Probably but it had to be more than that.
I finally figured it out.
If you have read any of my blogs, you can agree there’s no questioning my optimism. I try to give everyone the benefit of a doubt and I try and see the light in everyone. It takes a lot to get me down and even more to truly offend me. I just don’t take things personal–most days. So how does this play into forgiveness?
The law of attraction.
I just got back from the most amazing business retreat in Canada. That trip alone changed my life but I experienced a lot personal development before I even arrived. Ottawa is a long ways away but I love to road trip because I listen to audio books. That’s right, I don’t have enough time in the day to sit down and read so I listen to books when working isn’t an option. I decided to download The Secret because a colleague was raving bout how life changing it was. Her business has doubled and it seemed to flip a switch in her personal life, as well. I like shortcuts so I decided to get in on the goods.
The audio book was 4.5 hours long and for 4.5 hours I couldn’t break away. Each word passed through my ears and hit my soul with each mile I drove. I am very familiar with The Law of Attraction but I was completely unaware of it. I have lived almost my whole life by it and can pinpoint every moment I didn’t. To sum it up, here is what it means:
Change your thoughts, change your life.
Being optimistic is more than looking at life with the “glass half full” mentality. As I said before, I try and give everyone the benefit of a doubt: even those who hurt me most. When I speak about my childhood experiences at conventions, people are flabbergasted that I can forgive a man who sexually molested me. Or two parents who chose their lifestyle over their family. How could I possibly forgive the people who “ruined” my life?
I’ll tell you why: I never thought they ruined my life.
I never, and I mean never, had the mentality that I was a victim. Sure, I had moments of self-pity but I didn’t identify with being a victim. My mentality was the complete opposite.
I am a survivor.
Victim vs. survivor have two very different meanings.
–victim: a person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action.
On the other side of it
–survivor: a person who survives, especially a person remaining alive after an event in which others have died.
I can’t give you the magic reason why I was born this way; with this gift of optimism but I am putting my faith in God. Specifically, I am speculating that my relationship with God through the entirety of my life has something to do with it. Jesus teaches us to love our neighbor and to treat others how we wish to be treated. That’s what I do. In my mind, if God can forgive someone who has done far worse things than sexually molest a little girl or parents who lost their ways, so can I.
You don’t have to have a great relationship with God to learn forgiveness. You simply have to change your way of thinking. In fact, I am still struggling with my relationship with God after my husband got cancer. I realize how it’s affecting my life and I am working on it. It doesn’t change the fact that we still don’t see ourselves as victims.
To all of the friends I made speaking at various events, I have finally found the answer. If you constantly live your life thinking negative thoughts, you will attract negative actions. If you keep telling yourself that you are ugly/fat/worthless, you will start to believe it and so will everyone else. If you keep living your life excuse after excuse, you won’t know how to take positive action when you need it most.
I ask one simple thing of you, today. For every self-doubting moment you have, change that thought into a self-empowering one. You are good enough for the task at hand and you will accomplish great things. And say it like you mean it because you just might start to believe it.