Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Giving Away Your Power - And Reclaiming it Through Forgiveness

Are you still holding on to hurtful feelings about something that has happened in the past? Pain can be difficult to let go of. And yet have you ever realized that by holding on to these painful feelings you are giving away your power and control to the person who has hurt you? The truth is, when we blame another person for how we feel, we give them power and control over our emotional well-being. Since we already feel hurt by what was done to us, giving people control will only add to and prolong our suffering.

Think about it for a moment. Why would we want to give any control over to someone else who in many cases doesn’t really care about us, some of whom may even be cruel to us? After a while, if we continually blame the same person over and over again it becomes a habit and we get caught in a groove which becomes deeper and deeper. This leads us down the road of feeling helpless and hopeless and definitely like a victim. We now have become disempowered at someone else’s hands.

There is one point I would like to stress. Holding people accountable for their action is not the same as blaming them for how you feel. People can be forgiven for what they have done and also need to be held accountable for their actions. What leads to unnecessary suffering is making people responsible for your continued suffering. Remember, forgiveness allows us to regain our power, breaking the unhealthy behavior created by our anger, guilt or fear. Forgiveness requires that we do our inner work and it is this inner work which will set us free.

Exercise: Think of a time when you gave away your power to someone who may not have cared for you. It could be a cruel and abusive parent or relative, or a friend that didn’t necessarily have your best interest at heart. Or it could be a business associate who did something implying that it was “just business” totally disregarding how hard you may have worked. Or it could be a lover or spouse who has betrayed you.
Ask yourself – why am I spending so much time blaming so and so. Who is it really hurting? Why am I choosing to stay stuck in the past instead of living in the present moment and creating a more productive and peaceful future? Haven’t I suffered enough? Now look into the present and future where this situation is no longer an issue. What does your life look like now? How does it feel to be free of this burden? What have you learned about yourself? Now take a deep relaxing breathe and think about all the things to be thankful for. Hold gratitude and joy in your heart and go on with the rest of your day.

If you would like more help in learning how to forgive go to “Finding Forgiveness: A 7 Step Program for Letting go of Anger and Bitterness” published by McGraw-Hill, the website and the blog on forgiveness


Lisa said...

Thank you for sharing. I truly believe your personal power is your ability to forgive. It's a spiritual gift that nurtures your inner peace.

Dr. Eileen Borris said...

Lisa, That is so beautifully said. Forgiveness truly is a spiritual gift and it is our personal power that is the ability to forgive.