Sunday, April 20, 2014

Forgive Someone You Love

I really believe that our biggest "forgiveness opportunities", as we A Course in Miracles Students like to call them, come from the people we know best.  The people that we are in relationship with can be our greatest source of joy...and they can also be our greatest source of annoyance or outright hurt.  Spouses, significant others, children, siblings, best friends or anyone else that we spend a great deal of time with, are often the people we find ourselves needing to forgive over and over.

I am going to give some tips on forgiving the people that we "love" the most, but first, I think it's important that we all give a good hard look at the reasons why we need to forgive our loved ones so often.  Remember that when we find that we need to forgive someone, it is because we have first judged them in some way.  We all need to ask ourselves some hard questions:

Are we too critical of our families, friends and loved ones?
Do we look at these relationships in terms of what we can get from them versus what we can give?
Do we have expectations for these people?
Are we accepting who they truly are or do we want them to be something else?
Are we looking at these people to be the source of our good in this world? 

No person is responsible for our happiness.  True happiness is something that comes from inside ourselves.  It comes when we know that we are loved and cherished by Spirit and are therefore able to love and cherish ourselves.  If we go looking for happiness elsewhere, we will never really find it.  Yes, we may find something that looks and smells a little bit like happiness for awhile, but it will always be fleeting.

Only the happiness we get from inside is the permanent kind that grows and deepens and sustains.  Forgiveness is the process through which we earn that happiness.  As we forgive others by offering them love, we begin to realize that we are worthy of that love, too.  It's a universal law, "You get what you give."  Happiness never comes from others, rather it comes when we give love to others.  Forgiveness is one of the ways we do this.

So first, let's all give a long hard look at each of our most challenging personal relationships and be honest with ourselves about how much of the discomfort we feel from those relationships is of our own doing.  This is not something that we will spend a quick few minutes on, but something that we will be studying and watching for the next few months as we really observe our own feelings and behaviors.

In the meantime, when we do find that someone we love is annoying us or hurting our feelings in any way, let's practice a little forgiveness.  My favorite forgiveness process for this situation is available in an audio format that you can download for $2.99, Forgive Someone NOW.

This audio takes 13 minutes to listen to, but it will teach you a process that takes less than a minute to complete once you get a little practice with it.  This is also forgiveness process #1, Seeing the Higher Truth, as outlined in my book, "Forgiveness is the Key to Happiness".  This is by far the process that I use the most frequently.  In fact, I use it almost every day for just about every thing that hurts or annoys me in my present

And here's a little advanced forgiveness experiment I recommend.  The next time someone that you "love" is upsetting you try "flipping the switch" right then and there.  

Go right from fear to love.  See if you can just stop the ego rampage in your mind.  Just let go of all those critical thoughts, those needy thoughts, those "I have to be right" thoughts, those "I need you to complete me" thoughts.  Just drop them.  Just do it.  And then turn up the love.  Direct feelings of deep love toward your loved one.  Let them amplify until they engulf the two of you.  Just keep intensifying the love.

One fascinating by-product of forgiveness is that it actually changes the world around us.  If you practice forgiving the people you love every time they press your buttons, you will find that over time your buttons get pressed less frequently, until eventually, almost never.  Do the people we love actually become less annoying with forgiveness or are we less likely to be annoyed?  Who knows?  I believe that both actually happen, but try it and see for yourself.  One thing I know for sure is that your world will change.    

This morning I was listening to a lecture with Louise Hay and Cheryl Richardson.  Cheryl Richardson mentioned that a former therapist had asked her an important question during couples' counselling.  The question was, "Do you want to keep redecorating hell or do you want to fix this?"  This is exactly the issue we face when we allow ourselves to stay in a state of annoyance, hurt or victim-hood with the people in our lives.  We can allow our egos to take over, amplifying fear and keeping us in hell, or we can connect to Spirit and switch to love.  One of those choices leads to happiness!

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