Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. – Tony Robbins
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. – Mahatma Gandhi
You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well. – Lewis B. Smedes
When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future. -Bernard Meltzer
When you choose to forgive those who have hurt you, you take away their power. – Unknown
I forgive you. I release you. I wish you the best. I send you love.
I let go of the hope that the past can be any different.
I know the past HAS happened. I am free from its drama and its pain.
We all know the saying, “You can’t change the past.” And while this statement is obviously true, it doesn’t always feel very helpful.
It’s like, “Well, duh. Obvi.”
I know I can’t change the past. I can’t change the past just like I can’t change the number of days in the week (I’ve always felt like there should be 8), another person (if you are trying to change someone – stop), or the fact that for some reason God felt like I should be a brunette (It just doesn’t make any sense — really God?).
But that hasn’t always stopped me from wanting to. We all, at some point, have wished that we could take back the hurtful words, the painful memories, or the regret of the past. We have all experiences moments where our hearts were disregarded or we carelessly disregarded someone else’s heart.
You know you can’t change the past, but you still feel the hurt.
I remember several years ago I was struggling with this concept: big time. I had been in therapy for well over a year and I felt like I was just circling over the same issue over and over and over. Yes, I hurt. Yes, they hurt me. Yes, I can’t change it. SO NOW WHAT? I was so tired of dealing with it and “working through it” that I could scream. ((And y’all know I believe in therapy — obvi… I’m a spiritual life-coach, life-mentor, and online counselor now.)) I am sure the therapist was just letting me be in the process, but OMG I could not have sat with that pain one more second.
As always, as I endured and continued to engage in the process of healing, the Universe brought me what I needed. I was driving in the car. I had a little children in the back seat (shout out to all the nannies & moms in the world — raising babies is hard work) and Oprah radio was on. And what I heard changed my absolute life.
The expert on the show suggested that those struggling with the past regard it as something that “HAS happened. Not just as something “that happened” but something “that HAS happened.”
I remember it struck me like a knife. “Has happened.” If it has happened then… it’s over. It’s done. It is gone. It already happened. It can’t hurt me anymore. The expert-guy went on to say, “Unforgiveness is holding on to the hope that the past could have been any different.”
And my life was changed.
I now know a moment like that to called a Quantum-Shift which just means a moment where a piece of information or insight changes everything. You have a major shift in perception. You see everything differently.
That moment opened me up. I was able to see that I was holding on to hope for something that could never be. The past can not be different. Being sad, angry, or resentful could not help me or protect me. Nothing could be done to change any of it.
I know y’all have heard the saying the unforgiveness is like pointing a gun at yourself hoping it hurts someone else — or something like that. Unforgiveness is intended to get back at the other person and/or protect yourself, but it does neither. Unforgiveness causes you to keep people out. It causes you to build a wall up around you. And with every one else on the other side of the wall, you don’t just reduce the changes of being hurt, but you reduce the chances of experiencing love, joy, and gratitude too.
After my Quantum-Shift moment, I was able to forgive. And not only forgive, but eventually empathize. I remember sitting at a café in New York eating a really great salad and writing in my new journal a few weeks later and found myself feeling sad for them. Realizing that they had a life and many painful experiences that led them to treating me like they did, made me hurt for them.
It’s hard to stay resentful toward someone who you feel sad for.
The only thing I felt after that was the hope that they would heal and find a better way.
I actually felt hope for their healing. I wanted the best for them.
So if you are thinking, “Uh. Yeah, good for you, but that doesn’t really help me.” Then I have a few pieces of advice.
1. Become willing to forgive.
I remember learning in one of Gabby Bernstein’s group coaching courses, that her first step to forgiveness was becoming willing to forgive. And I agree. You may effing hate that idiot, but when you let the Universe/God/Yourself know you are willing to forgive, you will be given the steps. My steps were therapy, Oprah radio, and a great salad in the Meat Packing District. The Universe will work with what you got.
2. Integrate this info.
Say it with me: I has happened. It is over. It is in the past. They can’t hurt me now, because I am stronger now. I know better now. I don’t need now what I needed then. I let it go.
3. Release them.
Oh girl, I promise you, your mantra for the rest of your life when you are feeling hurt: “I forgive you. I release you. I wish you the best. I send you love.” It may sting a little to say it at first ;) It will get easier.
So maybe It doesn’t matter if your childhood could have been different, if your last relationship could have been different, if that principal, teacher, parent, coach, love, best-friend, or boss could have been different. Not because you don’t deserve the best (you absolutely totally do!) It doesn’t matter simply because it’s over.
All you can do from here is forgive, release, learn your lesson, let go, and move the eff on.
You don’t need closure. You don’t need an apology. You don’t need the person to right the wrong.
Those things won’t help.
As my therapist back then used to say, “No one can do for you now, what they didn’t do for you then.” You don’t need them now like you needed them then. Even if they could do now what they didn’t then… it wouldn’t help.
I suspect that as you let go of the hopeless hope that the past can still change, you’ll be able to focus on TODAY. And tomorrow. And the next day.
Maybe you’ll be able to live in the here and now, enjoy what you’ve got and loving how far you’ve come.
Letting go of the past & living bigger than ever,
Amanda Frances McKinney is a life-coach, blogger, and psychotherapist. It is her passion to use her education, personal experience, and spiritual practices to contribute to the growth and happiness of others. Her blog, amandafrances.com, was created as a space where her passions of spirit, self-love and style are celebrated. Through her blog and her life-coaching practice, Amanda Frances International, she pursues these endeavors. Amanda has a Masters of Science in Counseling from Southern Methodist University and is currently in pursuit of a PhD. She has been featured twice in InStyle Magazine. She is a self proclaimed self-love junkie, yogi, fashionista and international traveler. Learn more: amandafrances.com/coaching