Wednesday’s Wisdom: On Forgiveness


Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past.”

(Lily Tomlin)

Meditating on this quote allowed me to examine what it really means when we insist on holding a grudge or resentment concerning something that has happened to us in the past. Holding on to that hurt or pain means we prevent ourselves from moving forward towards forgiveness. We are not ready to accept that…

what happened happened exactly the way it happened“.

We want to believe that someone can somehow magically make that pain or injustice “undone”.  To change the past in retrospect, so that the outcome is more to our liking.

But nothing – and no one – can do that!

  • Your rapist can’t “un-rape” you.
  • Your enslavers can’t “un-enslave” you.
  • Your unfaithful husband can’t “un-cheat” on you.

Even their apology or punishment or death won’t change the fact that “it” – however trivial or catastrophic – actually happened.

Or that it happened to you.

Being able to forgive doesn’t change the past, either. What it does is change the way we allow the past to impact our present – and our future!

In the end, the choice is ours. Do we hold on to our habit of  fruitless “magical” thinking by making something that’s impossible the prerequisite for our (future) happiness? Or do we – as individuals or collectively – open our own clenched fists to let go of the past and be ready for gifts and blessings both the present and the future hold in store?

I really like what UB reader,  Alice W., had to say :

“No longer feeling it as a negative burden still holding me down, but simply seeing it as an uneven stepping-stone I had to go over.”

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Filed under Coaching, Wednesday's Wisdom

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