Coaches Corner by Ellie West: Forgiveness
March 8, 2023
Why is it sometimes so hard to say, “I’m sorry, please forgive me, or I forgive you.” Perhaps it has something to do with false pride, self-worth, insecurities, or deep pain.
Self-worth is often based on possessions and titles, and false pride is based on comparing ourselves to others. Insecure people are fragile and do their best to protect themselves from hurt. Deep pain holds you in a place of despair.
This topic is challenging to write about because I have often struggled with forgiveness. I ask myself how to forgive those who have offended and hurt me. I know I need to forgive to bring healing to areas in my life that will free me to soar higher and be authentically me. Living in hurt cripples us and keeps us from being honest with ourselves. We may harbor resentment and even hatred if we hold on to unforgiveness.
Our minds remember everything we experience, but we can only remember those memories with a vital emotional component. When a significant event occurs, we can recall the event, where we were, and even the day and hour. For example, if I ask how many of you remember where you were during 911, most of you will be able to remember every detail of that event.
We also have the capacity to remember weddings, the birth of a child, graduations, and promotions because they are so positive. But unlike other events that create a more negative emotion, like a death of a loved one, divorce, accidents, loss of a job, or emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, we remember because of the strong emotional attachment. Our emotions can be triggered by a word, action, or even a tiny event.
The act that hurt or offended you might always be with you. But working on forgiveness can ease the act’s grip on you. It may help free you from the control of the person who hurt you.
Choosing to forgive someone that has hurt you, lied to you, or made broken promises to you is a choice we make every day. Sometimes our wounds are so deep that it takes time, and we may have to forgive repeatedly. It is a process that can be painful, and some days, it can be hard to get through your day…but that doesn’t make it any easier.
I was listening to a podcast the other day, and what struck me was the comment this person made. She said, “There are times when we think we have forgiven, but we have just disconnected.” Ooh, that one spoke to me loud and clear. I had to play that again and hear the words disconnected. Do we think we have forgiven but disconnected ourselves from the person who hurt us?
Is disconnecting from another person easier than offering or receiving forgiveness?
You could be in a relationship where you have been deeply wounded, and you play the scenario over and over in your mind, and you know you need to forgive but can’t forget. At this intersection, you may disconnect from the person physically and emotionally. But true healing cannot come from disconnecting. Your healing comes from forgiveness. Offering forgiveness to the other person not only frees you but also frees the other person.
When we offer forgiveness to someone we may have offended or hurt, it brings a feeling of compassion and empathy toward the person and an even better understanding of the act.
Would you like to be forgiven if you have made a mistake? I know I would. I have waited too long to forgive some people in my life who have hurt me, and there are a couple I need to forgive who are no longer living.
Forgiveness brings a type of peace that allows you to take care of yourself and helps you take action to become you authentically.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean excusing or forgetting the pain you have experienced. And it certainly doesn’t mean making up with the person who hurt you.
When we forgive, we have better relationships, improved health, less stress and anxiety, fewer negative thoughts, and fewer symptoms of depression. If you hold on to grudges, and unforgiveness, you will bring anger and bitterness into other relationships, your home environment, and your workplace.
We can’t force someone to forgive as we all move on our timelines.
Forgiveness is a process, but we can still choose and commit to treating others with respect, compassion, kindness, and empathy. I am still processing the act of forgiveness.
“When a deep injury is done to us, we never heal until we forgive.” ~Nelson Mandela
To connect with Ellie FB/IG @coachelliewest