7 Day Shift Your Mindset Challenge-Forgiveness
Day 1 –Forgiveness
I have recently been in a period of utter funk. You know that feeling, right? Nothing makes you happy. You’re bored with life,grouchy, tired, and your family tip-toes around you. Therefore, on Day 1 of the 7 Day Shift Your Mindset Challenge, I wanted to focus on a subject many of us have a hard time embracing-forgiveness.
Using the George Castanza method, I am going to think and do EXACT OPPOSITE of what I normally do to see what changes. 🙂 (for those of you who are scratching your head, it’s a Seinfeld reference… check it out on Youtube if you want a little chuckle!)
Today I have decided to focus on forgiveness. I felt it was appropriate considering my fiance and I had what should have been a fairly benign discussion about needs turn into a pretty big blowout. Without going into details, the argument escalated into an assault on my character, which I am very sensitive about due to my personal history. Even though I didn’t resort to personal attacks, I’m sure my tone and facial expressions were like daggers to him as well.
Why is Forgiveness So Difficult?
Needless to say, it is VERY difficult for me to forgive things that open those tender spots in my soul. I tend to shut down and punish the other person by distancing myself. In addition, I might withhold any affection or communication for quite awhile.
Grown-up Me knows this is unproductive and cold, but the injured little girl in me hasn’t yet learned a better way to shield herself from emotional pain. So I guess we can say that forgiveness is difficult because we have a false belief that we are somehow protecting ourselves from being hurt. Or maybe we think the other person should “atone” for their mistakes until WE feel better. Sounds harsh and a bit distorted when we hear that outside of our minds, doesn’t it?
I’ve learned this sort of defense mechanism only results in resentment and eventually the slow demise of the relationship.
So I decided to put my big girl panties on and choose forgiveness. After all, can I really call myself a Christian or expect forgiveness for my mistakes from others if I am not willing to give it myself?
So Today I Decided:
When I felt the urge to pull away in defensiveness when my fiancé tried to kiss me, I leaned in and kissed him back.
When I felt the urge to stay quiet and not speak, I asked about his day with a smile.
When I started to replay the awful moments from the previous day, I drowned out those thoughts by remembering all of the sacrifices he has made for me. I remember how much he makes me laugh.
When I felt the urge to ignore his phone call because I was still hurt, I chose to answer with a smile in my voice.
What were the results of choosing forgiveness over holding on to hurt and anger?
The tension in my body released.
The hurt in my heart melted away.
I was able to focus on my tasks for the day.
I felt more at peace.
I was able to be empathetic to how I made him feel instead of only focusing on my own hurt.
I was able to accept his remorse and attempts to soothe me.
Most importantly, I was able to say I’m sorry and mean it.
Let It Go!
Instead of stewing on every detail and hurt feeling I had, I chose to LET IT GO. That’s a phrase that is somewhat foreign to me, but I hope to become much more familiar with it. I hope you will too. The next time you feel that defensiveness welling up inside, squash it before it reaches your lips. Sqaush it before it sinks it’s long claws into your heart and mind.
I’m not sure if my fiance noticed I handled things differently this time. However, I know he was relieved to not come home to an angry face or the silent treatment. As a result, he also relaxed and gave me a nice foot rub on the couch. <3
What Was the Lesson?
Hmmm….. being together and forgiving feels much better than being right, hurt, angry and alone…….
If you find it hard to forgive those closest to you (as someone with the same affliction) I urge you to try a different way. It may feel as though you are “letting them off the hook” or that they don’t deserve it. In reality, the forgiveness benefits you more. Above all, apologize for your mistakes and failures, too. Even if you think what the other person did was “worse” or “hurt you more”.
As someone once said, “you get back what you give.” You’ll receive grace and forgiveness if you are willing to give it. I am not saying to forgive and allow things like abuse or cheating to continue. Instead, forgive the every day unintentional screw ups we all are guilty of.
Most of all, forgive YOURSELF for being imperfectly human. You only know what you know. Find the lesson, learn it for next time, and move forward!
I’d love for you to follow me in this 7 Day Shift Your Mindset Challenge , or create your own with the areas of your own life you want to improve. Either way, let me know how it goes!