The Most Important Work You Will Ever Do
To forgive another is to set a prisoner free, then realize the prisoner is you. ~ Lewis Smedes
In the fourth blog post from my forthcoming book The Path to a Peaceful Heart, we take a look at possibly the MOST important work one can do in his/her life….the work of Forgiveness. Today, we examine the C in the PEACE process, a culmination of steps I took over a thirty year period to find understanding, clarity, and finally peace from childhood adversity.
The PEACE process can be applied to anyone’s life in any set of troublesome circumstances. It is a universal model to use and apply to your own situation for tremendous perspective and insight. The PEACE process also provides a helping hand for those who have struggled to find awareness and understanding from the tough times that life has dealt them.
The Path to a Peaceful Heart will pull you up to a higher place in your life.
The fourth step in the time tested PEACE process is:
Claim Your Freedom through Forgiveness of Another – (Excerpt from THE PATH TO A PEACEFUL HEART)
There’s only one technique I know for finally closing off your toxic connection to another person, and it’s a technique that you, if you’re like me, are going to loathe the idea of. That technique is forgiveness.
No, it’s not letting them off the hook. It’s not about giving them something they don’t deserve. In fact, forgiveness, as I mean it, is not about them at all.
In fact, the true essence of forgiveness is letting yourself off the hook – the hook of the toxic shame and fear that is eating your present self alive. It’s not about giving them freedom from the consequences of their actions; it’s about giving YOU the freedom from the consequences of their actions.
How to Forgive Another
Although larger issues take a full eight step process, you can begin to forgive anyone of anything with a quick three step action plan. Here’s how:
1. Hand over responsibility back to its original owner. It was never about you to begin with. Decide to give the stuff back. “I’m not going to carry this within me anymore! This is yours now!”
2. Change your expectation that it ever was going to be different than it was. “I would have preferred you did the right thing. You didn’t. I’m changing my expectation of this and letting go now.”
3. Take a few deep breaths and let go. Say the words, “I forgive you and I forgive all of it.” Your mental and emotional health is what’s at stake here. Not theirs. Let go for you. Lastly, find something good in them.
Once you’re done, sit quietly for a few moments and savor the stuck feeling slipping away for good, and the feelings of acceptance, gratitude, and lightness taking its place. This is the path to a clear conscience and sound mental, physical, and emotional health!
Stay tuned next week for the final excerpt of the PEACE process. Until then, forgive what you are holding on to and be kind to yourself.