“The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.” ~Marianne Williamson
We all have the fundamental desire to create an ideal world, where everyone is healthy, happy, and free of suffering. The habitual tendency we all have is to look around us, find out what's wrong with the world, and then try to “fix” it.
While it’s true that horrible things happen around us everyday, to transform the world we all experience, we have to start with ourselves. We can only create change in the world if we first start with our own individual healing.
When we heal a part in ourselves, we also heal that part in the world. In order to heal we must utilize the power of forgiveness.
I recall a night many years ago when I finally fully recognized how much I had been hurting myself with my persistent negative self-talk.
I used to believe that I wasn't good enough to have and enjoy the type of life that I wanted, that I wasn't attractive enough to meet the kind of man I dreamed of, or that I would never reach the ability to fulfill my potential.
Based on observing my mother, stepfather, and grandparents from an early age, I learned to feel guilty for all the good, as well as all the bad that occurred in life. I also learned to blame others, and that life is supposed to be a struggle.
I finally realized and felt what I had been doing to myself and how damaging this was, both physically and spiritually. Upon this realization I burst into tears and cried for a long time. I then, quite naturally, as I explored how to heal, initiated a process of forgiveness.
For hours as I hugged myself in bed, curled up in a ball, I recalled all the times I had unintentionally hurt myself by thinking and believing negative thoughts about myself.
Then I forgave myself for each item as it came to mind. I began journaling until there was nothing left inside me and all my tears had been wept. I wholly and completely released myself for the guilt and pain that I created in my life.
I also recognized that no one in my life had hurt me except for myself. I decided to take responsibility for my feelings and my life and put an end to my suffering.
Other people can and could only hurt me if allowed them to—if I believed their words and actions were reflections of who I am, rather than a reflection of how they feel about themselves.
I essentially became aware of this cycle of pain and forgave and released myself from those old, negative behavior patterns. Consequently, I also forgave and released all the people who I felt had hurt me.
The reality of what had happened set me free and healed enormous portions of my life.
Much of the pain we experience in our everyday life is self-created through our thoughts and beliefs about our circumstances. We then project this suffering into the world as external experiences, which we often try to “fix” by making changes or building walls in our external affairs.
When we accept responsibility for our experiences and feelings, we learn that we have more control over our lives than we thought.
We cannot control what happens in the world around us but we can choose how we interpret and interact with it. Cleaning up our thoughts and forgiving ourselves is a great way to start.
An excellent technique is to write down all the things you want to forgive yourself for, write yourself a letter of forgiveness, and talk it out to yourself or with someone you really love and trust.
Then tell yourself that you're so very sorry that what happened, happened; that you said what you said; that you thought what you thought and that you did what you did. Really feel it.
Allow the forgiveness to flow through your body and release you. Cry until you feel empty and there's nothing left. Complete this process many times as you need. Right here, now, healing has occurred. And that healing has a ripple effect throughout the world. See, you can change the world!
From there, you can choose to do things differently. Become aware of the thoughts you think about yourself, because upon repetition those thoughts become real. Choose to think good, loving, healing, gentle, and kind thoughts.
And the next time you come upon some kind of blockage in life, go through this process again.
I am still learning to do this. I sometimes catch a negative thought or belief that has been hiding away in my subconscious, but I see this as a gift for me to grow and heal more as I transform them into positive beliefs.
This is what I consider to be a miracle. Every time I forgive myself, I create more space for love, happiness, and world change.
While forgiving ourselves, on its own, won't end global suffering or create world peace, creating peace within will better enable us to find and enact solutions to the larger problems we all face.
Healing myself creates a ripple affect across the universe, allowing me to help others heal, creating a changed and healed world. The same goes for you.
Photo by AndYaDontStop