“Inner peace can be reached only when we practice forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go of the past, and is therefore the means for correcting our misperceptions.” ~ Gerald Jampolsky
I am sure you have noticed that when I blog, I bring a piece of myself and share from my own experiences. Today, I am struggling with forgiveness, mostly of myself, but it seems to be manifesting in an internal struggle resulting in anger, bitterness and frustration. Fortunately, I really do not linger in this place for long, but Holy Toledo! I’d really like to be able to forgive and let go. How in the world am I going to do that?
I love that the opening quote focuses on correcting misperceptions. I think it’s spot-on. How do we go about making such a change? Take a look at the past. Do you see repeating patterns? Do you allow the past to have a vice grip on you? Perhaps you have a victim’s mentality and believe that things “keep happening” to you. Whatever the case, you need to take a look at what it is that holds you back from finding this elusive inner peace.
If something is keeping you from moving forward in life, keeping you from achieving your goals, building your career or finding happiness, you need to put a stop to it. Make it stop right now. You could comb over your past to try to figure out what your parents or caregivers did to you. If you need help sorting that out, consider seeing a counselor; it could be what you need. However, if you want to begin to change every aspect of your life now, read on.
Correcting Misperceptions: First things first. Change your perception. In every situation, we can find good, bad or indifferent. I agree that bad things “happen,” but the real power lies in how you view and react to life circumstances. Regardless of religious beliefs, most people agree that things happen for a reason. In all situations, we can find wisdom or even hope. That may be harder than it looks, but the change I propose is so small, just a minor adjustment: stop to take a deep breath before reacting in a situation. This will slow-down your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, and give you a few seconds to switch gears. If your reaction time is usually lightening-quick, then this is a great way to make a change. You have to practice, but you can do it.
Let Go of the Past: This can be a difficult task, and it takes many people their entire adult lives to muddle-thru the past. It doesn’t have to take so long. You can lump a lot of life’s circumstances together and heal the past while examining patterns, re-programming your brain AND finding inner peace. Promise. You will, of course, have to make a commitment to change your way of thinking, take a close-up look at yourself in the mirror, and learn to be real with yourself. By being real, I do not mean hyper critical of the self; just be honest. Take stock of your patterns, acknowledge their origin (parents, relationships, teachers, etc.) and then move toward un-doing the pattern. You can do a focused meditation where you visualize yourself in a situation, and you take back your power in a positive way, or you can simply acknowledge that “it happened” and set your sights on making a new pattern. Visualization can be a very powerful tool, and it is up to you to find the way to commit to get yourself there.
I am not going to teach you to meditate, but I can help you sort thru your “stuff.”
One way to process is to write a few pages in a notebook every morning before you start your day. Let the muck flow thru your brain, body and pen onto the paper. Write everything you are thinking, about three pages, leave it on the paper, and get on with your day. I recommend that you hand-write, as it will help flow the negative thought cycles out of your body, and you can focus on leaving it on the paper. You can even throw the pages away after you write.
Forgiveness: This is the first thing mentioned in the quote, but the last one I address. I leave it to the end because I believe that in order to begin to “practice forgiveness” we need to look at our perceptions, negativity and destructive thought patterns. Once we see this, we can begin to let go of the past. I know that I could easily blame my negative thought patterns on people from my past. But my thoughts are my own, aren’t they? And so, it’s my fault that I’ve got these hang-ups, right? Oh….wait…..
So, now we’re here at forgiveness. Forgive yourself, forgive others, let go. Let go and you will loosen-up. Give yourself a break, let yourself off the hook so you can begin to live your life, every moment, every day. Forgive yourself your perceived shortcomings and failures, and see the lessons you’ve taken with you on your journey. You can let go of the past and find your way toward inner peace. It does indeed start within, but sometimes it’s easier to look outside first. That’s OK, because in examining the past, how you got where you are, you get the eagle-eye view of yourself.
This might be the hardest lesson I’ve shared. I continue to work on it, and have stumbled more than once. Today I woke up ready to lash-out at the world for my struggles, ready to blame anyone, everyone. But, I hold the key to my happiness, and you hold yours. It is up to you to decide whether you will reach your destination. I sincerely hope you will take the time to change your perspective every chance you get until it becomes a habit to view the world as a wonderful place full of awe and opportunity for growth.
Blessings. Gratitude. Love.