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We cause ourselves a lot of our own pain by not forgiving ourselves and others. This is the first part of a three-part series that examines the art of forgiveness, including figuring out who we should forgive, why we should forgive, and how to achieve forgiveness.
Not forgiving ourselves and others also stands in the way of getting where we want to be in our lives today. We have enough obstacles from sources we have no control over; this one we can control. There’s no reason not to get out of our own way.
You might know right off who you want to forgive, and maybe it’s something you’re already working toward.
On the other hand, you might have no idea what I’m talking about. If so, consider whether there is anyone (or maybe even several someones) you might want to consider forgiving.
Aside from yourself, consider whether there are people in your past or in your present who are candidates for forgiveness.
In your past, think about the “funny” stories you tell about the kid who tormented you in grade school or the “friend” who used to sit on you and tickle you until you cried. Maybe it was a teacher who embarrassed you in front of the class. Or maybe you had an ex who cheated on you.
Stories that make you squirm or get angry years later are probably a good source of finding someone to forgive.
You might also have people who are currently in your life who anger you, and perhaps have done so for years (think: parents and siblings). Do you duck calls from your sister? Who makes you angry when he or she doesn’t meet your expectations?
Bosses, co-workers, friends — even the guy who cut you off in traffic — could be a good candidate for forgiveness.
Is there anyone you fantasize about winning arguments against?
When you wake up at 2am with thoughts spinning around — and they aren’t happy thoughts — who is featured? Is it you and something you did that you wish you hadn’t?