Zeeb: The act of forgiving | VailDaily.com

Zeeb: The act of forgiving

Catherine Zeeb
Vail, CO, Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, COLORADO ” According to Webster’s Dictionary, forgiveness is defined as ‘the act of forgiving; meaning willing or able to forgive.’ This definition doesn’t exactly tell us what it is and, of course, gives no indication of how to do it. In Wikipedia, forgiveness is defined as a ‘mental, and/or spiritual process of ceasing to feel resentment, indignation or anger against another person for a perceived offense, difference or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution[1].’ Throughout time we’ve been told to forgive someone or forgive a situation and move on. What is forgiveness?

How many of us have heard, “To err is human, to forgive Divine” or “Forgive and forget” or “It’s been so long since that happened, can’t you just forget about it?” We may have been taught to justify others’ actions with statements such as, “They didn’t really mean it,” or “Forgive them for what they did, they only did the best they could.” How about, “He brought you flowers, he didn’t mean it. It won’t happen again.”

When we think of forgiving, we usually think of forgiving the other person for their ‘trespasses.’ What if you forgave yourself for the anger and the resentment held in your mind and body, the remembrance of things that happened to you and/or the things you did that you now think of as ‘bad’? Many of us can’t forgive ourselves. It is easier to condemn ourselves than to recognize our emotions.

Forgiveness is more the act of forgiving yourself than it is forgiving another person. Holding on to resentments, the desire to punish others or see them punished, or to think about ‘getting even’ are all barriers to spiritual progress.

What is the intention and purpose of forgiving the other person? Do they really need your forgiveness or is it judgment and criticism for who they are? If you feel compelled to tell someone that you have forgiven them, what are you expectations? If you tell them you have forgiven them and expect love or friendship in return and don’t receive it, then what? This is why we work on forgiveness of ourselves first. When we learn to let go of our judgments of self, let go of our resentments towards others ” remember, we can not change the past, we can only move forward ” we have room in our soul and clarity of our spirit to bring in more love and compassion.

Forgiveness means that you do not carry the baggage of an experience. The experience and energy will stick with you when you choose not to forgive. Most of the things we feel need forgiveness are actions others’ took or actions we took. We can’t change the actions of others, past or present, through forgiveness or wishing things would have been different. Nor can we change our own past actions or thoughts.

However we can forgive ourselves for seeing them or ourselves with hate, dislike, resentment, anger, jealousy or whatever emotion is attached to the remembered event.

Choose peace within yourself. Others don’t need your forgiveness. We can learn to forgive ourselves and move on with our lives. Forgiving someone won’t change the fact that something happened. Forgiving someone won’t change who they are ” only they can do that for themselves. So, forgive yourself for holding onto the anger, hate, guilt, doubt, or judgment and move on with your life. Lighten up space within your soul for love and compassion. This is true healing work.

Forgiveness is having the courage to take down the walls that we think are there to protect us.

Catherine Zeeb holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in Metaphysics. She has a private therapy practice in Edwards and teaches Metaphysics at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards. You can visit her website at http://www.healing-spirits.net.

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