After close to 20 years of working to inspire people to empower themselves and make healthy choices, I’ve found that the biggest blocks to joy and success are:
- unforgiveness and
- belief in unworthiness.
Unforgiveness is negativity that we think and feel: about other people, ourself, or Life and God—I’ll use those two words, Life and God, interchangeably.
Unworthiness is thoughts and feelings that we are not acceptable or deserving of goodness, care, connection.
When we forgive, we automatically feel more peace and worthiness. This allows us to build a solid foundation to make good choices, which in turn, allows more goodness into our life.
Before we actually forgive, we can get ready to forgive.
With that said, when we don’t like the way life is going, who do we blame for the causing of our troubles? Let’s talk about the blame game and how it blocks our ability to forgive and let in goodness.
What happened to “the life we wanted”?
We’ve probably all wished, hoped, and/or prayed for something that we didn’t get. Maybe we wanted to marry the homecoming queen, become the Grand National Poobah in our sport of choice, or become the next maestro or Madonna. When we focus on what is “missing,” such as: a bigger home, a higher-paying job, a sexier someone, etc., we may also suffer from ever-lingering feelings of disgust and disappointment.
If we choose to blame Life or God for how our life turned out, and hold it responsible for what we didn’t get, we’ve both given our power to change it away, and also passed judgment that Life has done us “wrong.” We’re somehow saying that, “we know better” what life should be and what we should have received. We’re taking a high and mighty position of blame and judgment. Judgment against the One Power that makes our lungs breathe, our hearts beat, our food digest, our world maintain gravity and spin in an orbit in a massive sea of space and stars. Hmm… seems like that One Power might know better how to make Life work than li’l ol’ we do. I don’t know about you, but blaming Life/God seems problematic. If you’re wondering if there’s an alternative approach, here’s something to consider.
An alternative to blame
Instead of dwelling on the downer of what we didn’t get and what we can’t do, we can accept that life isn’t what we’d LIKE right now. Then, we can aim our attention to learning about our self and life.
When we’re ready to learn, we can ask ourself a question. “Why would I judge Life or God for how life turned out, and hold unforgiveness in my heart?”
When I asked that question, I discovered three, twisted-yet-clever reasons why we may blame, judge, and not forgive Life and God for how our life turned out:
- If we quit blaming Life/God, we might have to accept that we are, in large part, responsible for how our lives “turn out.” (Oh no, not that!)
- If we quit blaming Life/God and accept that we are responsible for making our life great again (or maybe for the first time), we would have to grow and change. We couldn’t stay “small” and angry and whine and point fingers at others for our problems anymore. (Oh geez, let go of our anger and grow up to be big and strong? Do we have to?)
- If we accept that we are responsible for our own life, we’d accept that our successes and failures are based on who WE are and what WE do. This can feel both empowering and frightening, all at the same time.
Judging life is a killjoy
Judgmental thoughts like, “my life is not good enough,” and “things should have turned out better” are like a low-grade infection that burns inside of us. When we are irritated with life, how can we expect to experience joy? The irritation leaves a heavy residue that hangs over even our most joyful of events and opportunities, clouding our perspective. Instead of feeling joy in our life, we might feel left out, angry, misunderstood, and in search of a “quick and risky fix” to make us feel just a little bit better, in the moment.
Learning to love life
So that we may allow ourself to feel and experience more joy and love, we can consider accepting life instead of judging it. To truly love anything means we accept it as it is. Acceptance of life, God, self and others does NOT mean that it cannot change, or that we’ve “earned acceptance,” “made it to the finish line,” or can “quit growing.” It simply means that we accept what is presented to us, both right now and in the past, as LIFE, just as it IS.
Forgiveness, judgment, and acceptance
As discussed in the previous weeks’ articles, my perspective on forgiveness is considered shocking to some. Here’s my perspective—I don’t believe in forgiveness. I believe in acceptance. For if we choose to accept everything and everyone, as it is and does, then no judgment occurs. When we accept, we don’t judge that anyone or anything should be different. And when we don’t judge, forgiveness is not required. (Again, acceptance does not mean that all behaviors or situations are OK or that we need to tolerate toxic and deadly situations. In most cases, we can and best remove ourself from that situation and accept that we are a better being for having done so.) However, if we have judged someone, ourselves, and/or Life and God, then forgiveness is required in order to heal and grow.
What is forgiveness?
Forgiveness in this sense is a deep, heartfelt apology—first to our creator for being so arrogant as to believe we know best how to judge how our lives “should” be, and an apology for holding onto that judgment. Next is an apology to ourselves, for staying angry and limiting our ability to grow, flow, and transform. And then, an apology to the beings whom have been affected by our unforgiveness. Then, we can willingly release our judgment, and then fill that empty space with wholehearted acceptance of Life. And we can willingly vow to not judge life again, asking the power that is to help us in that implementation.
How I judged Life/God
My experience may sound silly—but for me, it felt devastating. From childhood through my thirties, I allowed myself to suffer because I believed that life owed humans joy since it forced us to be alive. (I know, some of you may be saying, “Man!” those are some deep thoughts for a kid! Yeah, I know, those thoughts are what got me here on the Grow Show! Meanwhile, any of you deep-diving non-dualists out there are roaring at my thoughts, knowing that all is one and one is all and suffering is misperception!) So anyway, back to my story. It was my perception that people were rarely genuinely happy—instead, they were pretending, faking, wishing, or trying to be happy. I saw much suffering and little joy. In response to this, I angrily judged that I knew better, and that life should be different—I judged that it should be joyful.
A chip on my shoulder
My choice to judge life in this way was a big thorn in my very own joy. I carried a chip on my shoulder about having to be alive when there were so many sad people and situations. I felt stuck until “life” changed or until death did us part. It was a powerless feeling: defeated, hopeless, and lacking in faith. No matter how much “success” I achieved in life, I always felt the lingering “yuk” of disappointment in being alive—not joy!
Why I chose to forgive Life/God
I chose to forgive because I realized that I had passed judgment—which is not my place, and because I realized that my old perspective about life was limiting me and causing me to suffer. I was not growing or becoming more alive, vibrant, and joyful. And I wanted better for myself. It was time for me to call it quits on my own suffering. No matter how much I volunteered, prayed, cared, sacrificed, served, and loved, I could never do enough to end the pain and suffering of others. However, I could lessen or end that suffering for myself. And so, I decided that I had enough.
How I overcame unforgiveness of Life/God
First, I allowed myself to become willing and open to new ideas about Life. I prayed and asked for guidance, help, healing, and hope. I said my apologies to God, myself, and others. I began applying “acceptance training” to ALL of life (including suffering AND joy), asking myself, “What do I need to know to accept Life right now?” I also did a lot of reading, meditating, and followed intuitive guidance, even when it made no “sense.” I quit spending time with people who were angry and wanted to be unforgiving and complain about life. I allowed myself to let go of the need to protect myself from life’s suffering. I also allowed myself to be “saved” from dwelling on it, so I could experience joy.
I found my ticket to a “good life”
When I released judgment and accepted that life IS and people experience life as they will, I chose to feel and experience a more enjoyable life, more often. I felt freedom like never before. I was freed from anger, freed from sadness that others were sad, freed to accept that some people’s idea of happiness is being “unhappy”! That freed me to feel like it was no longer my fault for not being “unhappy” when others were unhappy and wanted me to be unhappy too. I was freed to allow others to be “unhappy” while going my own “merry” way. My choice to forgive life for “suffering” has been a great tradeoff, and my health, happiness, attitude, and friendships and relationships are living proof.
Want to be open to the idea of forgiving? Here are a few steps:
First, if you’re not sure if you’re ready to actually forgive, that’s ok. Accept that. As a next step, could you begin by being open to the idea of it? Just let that simmer within you, and create a brew of willingness for the future. This can lead you to the next step.
Second, are you willing to imagine what it would be like if you accept of all of your Life circumstances? This doesn’t mean you will become apathetic and stagnant, it just means that you accept what and where things are right now, knowing that they will change. Acceptance is an amazing superpower, and frees our energy to be used to build and grow. To start, you can just imagine it. You can always go back to being hurt and angry if you want to. (But you won’t, it feels too good!)
Third, you might take time to pray and ask, “Is it best for me to forgive Life/God?” “What do I need to know?” and “Please show me how to forgive.” It’s amazing what we get when we ask in earnestness, with our whole heart and mind!
Tips for forgiveness
If you’re ready, below are four tips that can help you take out that unforgiving “thorn in your side” and find your “ticket” to a more joyful, good life!
- Willingness: When we are 100%, whole-heartedly open and willing to forgive, the rest of the process mostly takes care of itself. Check in with yourself. Is there any part of you that is unwilling? If so, ask yourself, “What would it take for me to become willing?” and move toward that.
- Humility: Let’s face it. We just don’t know it all, and that is OK.
- Responsibility: As soon as we take responsibility for our experiences, we begin to become empowered. We acknowledge that we are no longer a victim of life, but a living, integral part of it, with the capability of spreading joy, hope and wonder.
- Faith: When we choose to pray and have faith that life can be different, instead of always being the same old same, our “walls” crumble and we open the door to our heart and new possibilities.
Forgiveness and willpower
When we chose to forgive Life/God, we are really forgiving our misperception of it, and accepting it as it is. This helps us grow in strength and willpower. Once we forgive, we are also forgiven, and we know that we are worthy to receive all forms of goodness. Through forgiveness, we stop punishing ourselves with painful behaviors and addictions that keep us from intimately relating to life and block our intuition so that our lives can become fun, light, and free. Forgiveness allows life to shower us with goodness, because we are grateful and humble receivers. Of all the things we can do to empower ourselves, forgiveness is the most powerful.
What say ye?
Please share your thoughts and feelings on forgiveness with us down in the comments section, so that we may grow in strength and willpower together…
Always with love,