I’ve been reflecting on the ways my experience of forgiveness has deepened and expanded since Sheri Rosenthal and I launched WITH Forgiveness on September 11, 2006. Here are my reflections:

What are you for giving? I recently noticed, when I was asked about forgiveness, that my thoughts automatically centered on what I am for giving. Quite simply I am for giving: love, compassion and kindness.

Usually when you focus on forgiveness your attention is captured by a situation or circumstance from the past that activates an experience of anger, resentment and emotional pain. In the midst of this pain your ego-mind is running the show and judgment is in high gear. In these moments you are for giving anger, hurt, disappointment, self-righteous, resentment, betrayal – since the thoughts you are thinking generate those feelings.

Ask yourself, “Have I ever really solved problems from this state of mind?” I certainly haven’t.

I encourage you to declare what you are for giving and then notice if your thoughts and feelings are a reflection of what you desire. If not, become aware of what you’re thinking, and if it doesn’t support your desires, then have a new thought that does.

Forgiving is not condoning. I have repeatedly listened to clients tell me that if they forgive someone for a past hurt that they will be condoning the unacceptable behavior of the other person.

This became so clearly evident during a conversation I had with a workshop participant. She told me that her husband had been involved in an extramarital relationship. She was afraid that if she forgave him that he would then think that it was okay for him to have an affair in the future. So she held on to her anger long after his affair had ended and ultimately nourished the anger that blocked trust and intimacy in her marriage.

It is crucial to remember that when you forgive you are freeing your heart and mind from thoughts that result in on-going pain and disappointment. It is through the practice of forgiveness that you expand and deepen your capacity for unconditional love, compassion and kindness for all beings.

In order to expand your capacity to give and receive unconditional love, make a forgiveness list. On your list include who you are forgiving, what you are forgiving them for and what you want to be giving - experiencing - instead of angry, fury, resentment and suffering. Then take action to reflect your commitment to forgiveness.

When you forgive you remember the presence of the Divine in all creation. Judgments are a reminder that you are forgetting the presence of the divine in all of creation. Making judgments is a function of your ego-mind that divides and separates. When you see all of creation with the sense of wonder that you feel in the presence of a newborn, seeing the full moon rise on a dark night, listening to the sound of the ocean as it meets the shore, you then nourish your capacity to give and receive love.

To strengthen your ability to see the presence of the Divine in all beings say Namaste, aloud or silently, whenever you greet someone – including when you see yourself in the mirror. This ancient Sanskrit word means: The divine in me honors and acknowledges the divine in you.

Being forgiving is a choice. While you may feel helpless and powerless in the face of emotional misery, pain and suffering it is important to be aware and remember that all of your experience is based on your point of view, your beliefs, your expectations, your judgments – where you focus your attention.

When you are awake to what you’re thinking and feeling you can then choose the thoughts that bring peace to your mind, love to your heart and kindness to your actions.

To reinforce your choice to be forgiving, say aloud each morning, I choose to be forgiving. Then during the day, if you notice yourself feeling angry, agitated, worried or miserable again declare, I choose to be forgiving, and notice the impact of your choice on your experience.

Copyright © 2009 Susyn Reeve All Rights Reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Susyn Reeve, M.Ed. is the SelfGrowth.com's Official Expert Attitude Guide and the co-creator of Self-Esteem-Experts and WITH Forgiveness. She is the author of the award-winning book, Choose Peace and Happiness and The Gift of the Acorn and WITH Forgiveness - Are You Ready?

Contact her to schedule a coaching session or to arrange to have her speak to your organization or group (support@selfesteemexperts.com)