Forgiveness and Mindset?

Banner Photo By Jorge Vasconez


Podcast Script Below

By Dave Nelson, Founder at Milestone Mind

July 19, 2017

You’ll never cross an emotional bridge, if you keep rushing back to the other side.
— T.F. Hodge

There you are - facing the big decision. To hold onto, or to move forward.

You're at the opening of the rope bridge ahead of you - it looks somewhat unstable, but you know it's your only way across.

You know many before you have trusted this bridge, and have decided to take that step, albeit with trepidation. But, they did it.

You look to your left, to your right, of course, you look down, but most importantly, you look up. You look to the sky, take that huge, refreshing breath of the mountain air that surrounded you, and became infused with the life, courage and power to begin.

You grip one side of the rope bridge with one hand, and then the next side with the other hand. You take one more big inhale, and with a leap of faith, take that first step.

You get your grounding, and take the next step. You firm up again, and then with your hands and feet working in unison, you take the next step. Until finally, you reach the middle of the rope bridge.

There you hang 300-feet above the bottom of the gorge that you are crossing. Wind swaying the dilapidated bridge back and forth. Fear wanted to set it, and thoughts like, "what am I doing? I can't believe I am here, I need to turn back.." creeps into your mind.

But, you realize, too, that you've come too far to turn back now. You return to what allowed you to take that first step - looking to the sky, and taking in a healing ingest of crisp mountain oxygen. 

You set your sites on the far side of the bridge, the land you are reaching for, determined to get there, and with one step, one hand-reach and one breath at a time, you methodically come to the end of the bridge, setting your right foot onto the side you yearned for; the side that sets you free and allows you to continue on their journey forwards.

You bend down, touch the soft, morning dirt at your feet with their hands, and say, "thank you." You take in one more heap of morning life, look across to the other end, and say 'thank you' one more time, and, still peering across to the side you just came from, you waved a final 'goodbye,' exclaiming, "time to continue my journey - onwards and upwards." And then turn forwards, and forge ahead.

This is called forgiveness.

Like many people, I was raised with the notion that forgiveness was this thing you did when someone offended you. 

But, that my understanding of forgiveness was more in-line with me essentially being OK with what happened in order to move forward.

We often hear the word acceptance and forgiveness used synonymously.

But, that did not and does not work for me.

I simply will not accept that something or someone's mean act or thoughtless offense was what it was, when forgiveness was not sought from me, and to just move forward in vain.

How come? When I accepted something, I would basically lie to myself and say, "I forgive them so I can move on." But, what would really happen is I would bury it deep within and pretend like it didn't piss me off, when in reality, it pissed me off even more now in some cases, because sub-consciously, it was taken up space.

Often we'll hear things like, 'forgive and you'll be forgiven.' Or, 'I forgave but I didn't forget.' What does that mean? Probably that you're still mad or dissatisfied in the event that you 'forgave.'

But again, these notions did not sit well with me.

Over the years, I've come to think deeply about forgiveness and the role that it plays in my life, specifically, how I might harness it to thrust myself ahead (especially when genuine reconciliation between someone else as the offender and me did not exist, and may never). 

And then a question hit me, that I asked myself, that completely changed my concept of forgiveness, and it was this:

What is it that I want with forgiveness?

And my answer: space in my mind to create openings for new knowledge, new experiences, new relationships, new adventures and new growth. It wasn't just peace, or kindness. It was space.

I realized that this is what forgiveness was for me: space. It was NOT for the perpetrator or the action done towards me directly or indirectly when forgiveness was not sought.

With this answer, now, I then came to another conclusion about forgiveness.

It's not my job to forgive someone else's actions - that's the universe's job and really that person's own responsibility.

My job was and is to forgive the feelings I was experiencing from this event, and to reconcile them with how I actually want to feel, giving me the healing to move away from the offense, and towards how I actually want to live. 

Once I realized this, I felt like I no longer needed answers as to the 'why' someone did this thing or that thing - with no explanation - for which I came away feeling dissatisfied, sad or mad. I realized that meandering for an answer to this 'why' wasn't leading me to what I actually wanted, and that rationalizing the person's actions or the event that offended me was not my job. That's their job. My job is to release and forgive the feelings - for me. And, me only.

So I can have that space back in my mind. My precious space, that I honor, love and nourish, and that is not tied to these events or the cause of these events. These negative feelings were simply how my mind responded to them - and that now I will let those feelings go. Again, for me.

I don't condone bad behaviors or offenses (when not reconciled between people), but it's also not my job to forgive them.

I realized that forgiving the feelings that my mind and body had produced were in my control - rationalizing the irrational was not. It's a losing fight. 

True forgiveness creates space. The only thing I now accept is that it's not my job to forgive actions, especially when forgiveness is not sought by the offender, but rather the feelings they produced. It's not my job to rationalize things done outside of my control and that have no answers; rather, it's my job to release the feelings they stimulated inside of me at that time. 

This made forgiveness much easier for me, as it allowed me to see me for me, my role in the broader scheme of the thing that was bothering me - and my detachment from certain situations - and that forgiveness for actions done is not my job (I'll leave that to the Universe) but, rather forgiving the feelings they produced allows the loving space in my mind to be open again, for which was closed prior with my former notion of forgiveness.

So, why forgiveness and mindset?

So that you can use forgiveness as a tool to forge ahead in your journey, not by forgiving the actions done to you, when forgiveness is or was not sought, but rather, forgiving how they made you feel. You might just find by forgiving the feelings, the actions and the reasons for them lose their sting and their power over your precious mind space, and that forgiveness was and is intended for you, not them.