Chapter 15: The Gift of Forgiveness
Forgiveness is a gift to ourselves and comes from within, not from others. —Jennifer Green
I went to India to find myself and to forgive, which came in two forms. One, forgiving someone else, and two, the most difficult form – forgiving myself. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy or instantaneous, but I needed to begin the process. When I thought of India, I thought of peace, and I craved peace the same way I crave chocolate. The past year was the complete opposite of peace, and some days when I look back, I don’t even know how I survived. In order to feel peace again, I felt like I needed to change my environment, which meant going to India and completely immersing myself as much as possible.
As I searched for forgiveness, I saw flickering lights that shone through the clouds. These were the beginnings of seeing the silver linings that were hidden within the darkness all this time. Even though my eyes had been open all along, they were focusing on different things. However, when something shiny appears, it draws your attention and you can’t help but gaze at it and try to understand it.
I was completely on my own at the retreat, and I intentionally planned part of my trip this way to get in touch with my soul and to reflect on the good times and the not-so-good times, to think about where I went wrong, and what I did during my weakest moments. Even though I was completely alone and on my own at the retreat, it was the best feeling I had because I wasn’t lonely. When anyone takes you for granted, it can produce feelings of depressive loneliness and unworthiness, not to mention feeling trapped. The Universe gave me the chance to start over in a positive way with supportive people near and far. There’s that flickering light coming from that silver lining in a big puffy cloud right above my head again.
I tried so hard to find the courage within me to forgive and embrace the situation. In all honesty, this process has been the hardest of all because just when you think you are able to forgive, another trigger pops up and brings you back to anger and resentment. This doesn’t taste good and moves you farther away from forgiveness instead of towards it. You consciously need to make the effort to bring your mind back to the present moment and try again because the thing about forgiveness is that it’s a gift to yourself and not about the other person. The best part is they don’t need to be present when you do find the courage, and they don’t need to know because forgiveness is something you do for your own peace of mind so you can move on with your life in a positive way.
Forgiving myself has been the most difficult act because that’s when I saw the most flaws and mistakes about myself. But what I can tell you is the payoff of admitting your faults and taking on your responsibilities, not only makes you stronger but also sets you free more than you can imagine. I had to remind myself over and over that I am only responsible for my own life, and I am still a good person. It’s up to everyone to do their own work when it comes to personal growth and development, and if blame is your game, you will always remain toxic, stuck, and negative. You might think you are winning, but you are not. Looking back I think this gave me the motivation to find forgiveness even more.
It’s been two years since everything happened, and I am in a much better place now with acceptance and forgiveness. However, I still have work to do. It’s an ongoing process that will probably never end, but I am committed to living a happier life now, and I’ll do everything I can to get there.
When I wrote the blog post entitled The Gift of Forgiveness, I had been separated for only 4 months, and I was not in a place of forgiving anyone. However, the reason I wrote it was because I knew I needed to learn more about it and what needed to be done, so when I felt ready one day, I would know what to do. The people who know me well knew I was going through something deep and dark and were able to connect the dots. However, those who didn’t know me didn’t realize there was anything going on at all, and the reason for that was because I wrote from a positive place without blaming or venting.
I met an amazing woman and famous transformation life coach, Di Riseborough, who inspired me and taught me so much about forgiveness. Not only is she knowledgeable about the subject, she walks the talk, which is what I love most about her. I am extremely grateful for her work and being able to meet her because it was life changing for me.
In order to find light, you need darkness, and this dark situation was making me find the light through learning the gift of forgiveness. Little did I know that gift was for me and me alone, which is why I am writing it now towards the end of my book. I have come a long way since this time last year, and it’s because of taking the time and doing the internal work that needed to be done.
The natural reflex is to blame and feed on negativity while remaining bitter. That’s the easy way out. However, the side effects of doing this are deadly and get you nowhere. Every time you judge someone else, you reveal an unhealed part of yourself.
What I learned:
- India was the catalyst that helped me find forgiveness for my ex-husband and for myself.
• There are silver linings hidden in everything, especially the tough situations.
• There’s a big difference between feeling alone and living alone.
• Forgiving someone or myself is the hardest thing I’ve ever done and is an ongoing process.
• The ultimate goal of forgiveness is finding peace within yourself. I gave myself this gift.
• We are all human and broken. Some people have more cracks in their heart than others.
• It takes a strong person to forgive. If you hold onto bitterness, it’s you who is playing the victim.
• We all need to take responsibility for the roles we play in other people’s lives.
When forgiving someone, you do not need to agree with or like what happened. You are not saying that what they did was okay. However, you are saying, “This situation happened. I need to accept it and move on.” This is where I am at right now in my life, still trying to forgive. What I realize now is that I gave myself the gift of travel to India, and while I was there gave myself The Gift of Forgiveness.
~ Jennifer Green