About a year after my mother died, I suggested that my step father ask a particular woman out – someone we both knew.  He and my mom had been married 25 years.  He did so a bit reluctantly, and while it went well for him, the rest of his immediate family, including the kids and grandkids were quickly cut out of the picture.  Fast forward to 14 years later, and he is married to the woman he met, but not seen his grandkids in almost that same amount of time (and not even met a few of them).

I’ve been angry and disappointed about the situation (he doesn’t read the blog) but lately I’ve been wanting to forgive him in my heart – knowing he will never get it, but still wanting to move out of the negative thoughts I have about the situation into something more positive.  Have you ever tried to forgive someone but are too angry to do so?

The ability to achieve forgiveness and let go of past hurts is one of the most critical challenges we face on the road to attaining personal peace and happiness.  And, while it isn’t easy, it’s absolutely necessary for long-term mental and emotional heath.  Anger, love and forgiveness touch us all.  And, while it’s easy to get angry, and most times it’s easy to love … it’s not always easy to forgive.

Forgiving someone does not mean denying a person’s responsibility for hurting you, nor does it mean minimizing, or justifying the act. It’s simply the process of uncovering our own feelings and letting go of anger, while restoring hope, love and peace about the situation.  In other words, while we have the right to feel anger and resentment about a situation, we don’t want those feelings to define our lives.

How do we forgive?  It’s not enough to use the words.  Or to do something nice for the person who hurt us.  No, forgiveness means looking at what makes us angry about the situation and labeling it – admitting our feelings.  Only then, can we examine ways to physically and emotionally let go.

What has helped me lately is the realization that I can’t change the past and what’s happened. Nor can I go back and regain the time I lost in anger.  But, what I can do is move forward, with a clear mind — which then takes me out of the victim position and into a healthy position of love and forgiveness.

So, I’ve decided to give myself the gift of forgiveness.  To consciously access the compassion I have for a person who just has gone the wrong way.  To set myself free from years of anger and frustration and actually contribute my energy to something of greater importance, something the world is literally crying out for: peace and love.

I hope you have a wonderful start to your week!