Forgiveness was a word I rarely used. I would hold onto anger, judgments, and resentments. I thought these emotions would push me to either prove someone wrong or I would just try and forget about it — which never worked. I would suppress these feelings, but they would always come up somehow. This made me bitter at the world and pushed me away from many social situations. I thought that the ominous past would come back right into my present. This never happened. It just hurt me and rarely anyone else.
Forgiveness is a journey away from negative emotions like anger, hatred, and resentments. I found that once I began forgiving myself for my past, taking responsibility, and forgiving others, things began to change drastically. It was like the sun came out from a dark cloudy sky. What I realized is my whole life was being impacted. This was bringing me into a negative spiral of unhealthy behaviors. I had some serious work to do. I had to think deeply about where all these negative feelings were coming from. Some from my parents moving me across the country when I was younger, some from the words of my peers, some from my perception of the world around me, and and some from my actions and words.
What I have learned is that I did not have to go to other people and forgive them in person. I could do this by myself. I started writing my resentments down and simply spelling out I forgive myself and others for whatever it is that happened. I also repeatedly told myself to forgive and let go. It took a while for me to start believing these things. But, I began feeling more light hearted, more joyful, with more laughter and more inner peace. That dark cloud began to leave my world and for the first time in a long time I was present — present without worrying about the past creeping back. I could enjoy myself and I built a new perspective and a new meaning of forgiveness. I also learned forgiveness was directly related to acceptance and letting go.
I strongly believe that me not forgiving myself and others let that dark cloud follow me around and impacted others wherever I went. I also believe that if others began to forgive, we could all share a beautiful, loving, and accepting world. I will continue to practice this tool of forgiveness in my life and have hope that this can have positive effects on others. The smallest adjustments in our daily lives can make the most monumental changes for the world.
Tree House Recovery is a men’s treatment program located in Portland, Oregon. Creating sustainable recovery through sustainable change, our programs help men learn how to live sober with adventurous lives. Call us today for information: (503) 850-2474