Just looking at the word brings up a flood of emotions.
Forgiveness can pretty darn complex.
When I think of forgiveness, I can’t help but think of my mother. At the time of writing this article, we haven’t spoken to each other in months. I know she has forgiven me for the life I used to live and the mistakes that I’ve made.
Unfortunately, I still sense the bitterness and hurt in the air. It’s so thick that you can cut it with a knife. I don’t blame her. I violated her trust on multiple occasions years ago. I understand that it may take her years to heal.
Even though my life is completely different, this is the price that I have had to pay.
What I’ve learned about forgiveness is that it’s definitely a process. It’s never an event.
It took me a long time to finally forgive myself for my shortcomings, imperfections and transgressions.
Since the subject and meaning of forgiveness can mean different things to different people, I thought it would be a brilliant idea to not create this article alone.
Three people who mean the world to me have shared their thoughts and experiences on forgiveness, too.
I thought it may help you on your life journey with forgiveness to learn from their different experiences on the topic.
Let’s get to it…
This release of anger and openness to forgiveness did not happen overnight…
“Forgiveness is not easy! Especially when its a friend as close as a sister. Someone you taught everything you knew, mentored, encouraged and supported in everything. A bond you knew could never be broken.
Until one day it was. And that sister/friend you thought you had, stopped communication and moved on with no explanation. Since you live in the same city and in the same community and political circles you still have to see each other but with no engagement or conversation. Later finding out she’s telling people I was not a good friend, bossed her around and discouraged her from taking chances in her career.
Now for the people that know me. This is the exact opposite of the type of woman and friend I am. So to hear this made me angry, bitter, and spiteful. I was ready to take her down, teach her a lesson to never cross someone like me.
Ya, I was pretty angry.
Until I had a real conversation with myself. Chandra this is not your battle. This is not about you, but about that person. You can’t make her talk to you, explain herself or try to ruin her career. That’s not going to help anything or the direction your going in your life. Refocus, stay in your lane and focus on you only. So I did, but in the back of my head still confused about our friendship lost.
So time passed and both of us excelling in our careers and from a distance I can’t help but be proud of her and what she’s accomplishing. Although I can’t tell her because we don’t talk and haven’t completely forgiven her about the things she’s said about me.
Sometimes we have to forgive even if we don’t know the reason behind their actions. The forgiveness is not for them but for us to be able to move on and understand that sometimes people are not going to act the way we want them to. This is what led me to forgive her and send her a message of congratulations. This was freeing to me and a message to her that despite not being friends anymore I’m still proud of the things you’ve accomplished. This was our plan as friends in the first place. We were to help each other do the important work in the community and politics. So I’m proud and still being the person and friend I’ve always intended to be, but from a distance.
Although this release of anger and openness to forgiveness did not happen overnight. It did happen, and it felt good. It’s a process and not easy when you have to see this person often, but when you do the work on yourself and realize it’s more about them and not you. It’s easier to move on, forgive, forget and always be the bigger person.”
Chandra Brooks, is the Coach to Women who want to change the world and Author of Black, Brown and Political: Get Informed, Get Empowered And Change The Game. A book to empower communities of color to engage in politics and know their elected officials.
The largest example of forgiveness in my life has been to forgive my father.
“As a result of my father’s alcoholism, I had to assume a parental role as a teenager up through my late 20’s. I harbored a great deal of resentment towards him and wanted him to admit to his alcoholism and the negative impact it had on me as well as our family.
I’ve learned that everyone’s reality is different and that I can only control my own. I’ve learned that forgiveness is crucial to individual growth and development.
I may never get an apology from my father and that’s okay.
I realize when you forgive someone it releases the pain and it frees you. When you hold on to anger and resentment that weighs you down and keeps you stuck in the past. When you are stuck in the past that prevents you from moving forward.”
Jacqueline Kaba-Harrison is a Women’s Empowerment and Self-esteem Coach for Women of Color. She helps Women of Color to realize their potential through self-esteem building, purposefulness and accountability.
My path to self-forgiveness came when I decided to change how I was talking to myself…
“I should have…”
For years, these three words haunted me. A phrase full of judgement, shame, and blame for the day that I trusted someone else instead of listening to my gut and getting a second opinion. A decision that resulted in a sharp decline in my health.
Forgiving another person can feel like a momentous task, one complete with righteous anger and resentment for the wrong we believe that was done to us. But what if you feel that anger and resentment toward yourself. How do you forgive yourself?
My path to self-forgiveness came when I decided to change how I was talking to myself.
When I found myself saying or thinking,
“I should have…” I replaced it with “I love myself even though…”
This new way of talking to myself became both an act of self-love and an invitation to forgive that I could finally accept.”
Carol Chevalier is an Intuitive, Energy Healer, and Mentor. Carol helps women to let go of limiting beliefs, fears, and self-sabotaging behaviors so they can lovingly step into their own divine power and live a magnificently, unapologetic life.
There you have it.
Three incredible women sharing their individual experiences on the complexities of forgiveness and how it can shape our lives.