Usually when we speak of forgiveness, it’s about forgiving someone else for a wrong they have done to us. It makes us feel good about ourselves, that we are “bigger” than whatever they did, or at least more at peace internally. We say “I know you did that outrageous thing to me, and I’m still reeling from it, but I want to stop repeating and repeating it in my head, I want to move ahead with my life, so I am willing to forgive you.” But what does it mean to ask forgiveness of someone for a wrong you have done to them?
Are you looking to be forgiven so you can put an end to your own pain and regrets, or because you want the other person to feel better about you since you were willing to apologize and ask for forgiveness? Or does it mean that you sincerely repent for whatever thoughts, words, or actions you directed at that person and you are making every effort to clean up your karma?
When you are the one who has been wronged, forgiveness means you have decided to let go of your resentment and anger and bitterness over past deeds and you are letting go, however reluctantly, of fantasies that revolve around revenge. You know the ever popular “I’ll lose 20 pounds and show up at the event wearing a sexy black dress and he’ll be sorry we’re not together anymore!”
But what about when the shoe is on the other foot? When you are the one who made the mistake, did the horrific deed, had the dark thoughts? What if you slept with your best friend’s husband? Do you think you should be forgiven for that betrayal? “Oops, I must have been out of my mind” doesn’t quite cover it. What if, in a past life, you really cursed someone because you wanted their power, wanted their things, wanted what they had and you didn’t? What kind of karmic retribution might you be calling forth?
Unfortunately, your negative thoughts, words, and deeds follow you life after life until you have “paid” your debt—balanced out the scales in some way. By being a “good” person, you learn to examine your actions and your beliefs; by offering up your errors in a sacred way to the Great Mother and asking for her mercy, you improve your karma. There has to be some process of transformation. The energy you waste trying to assure yourself that whatever you did just wasn’t so bad can instead be used to create positive change.
As you know from energy medicine when you hold onto dark emotions, when you bury them deep in your subconscious and deep inside your body, things can go wrong in your life. Relationships falter and fail, money issues pile up, your health can take a nosedive. So it really does matter that you do something to acknowledge, at least to yourself, what you have done, so you can erase the negative tape loops in your head.When you acknowledge what you have done to someone else, even inside yourself, you can use a shamanic technique to cut the cords to that person and free up your energy.
Forgiveness can be a bit tricky. It doesn’t imply forgetting what you did. You don’t even have to formally ask forgiveness of the other person, make peace, and both go happily along your respective ways. It’s more a matter of persistent internal work, done with focused intent. You have to look at yourself really honestly, step back from the image you usually display to the world, and acknowledge the darkness within you. You can go back to childhood and see how your patterns of thought and behavior emerged. You can go deep in meditation and ask your spiritual guides and angels for help. You can ask for help from counselors, therapists, or learn about energy healing so you can start to get your energy flowing in a positive direction.
Mark Twain once said, “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” Know that beauty can emerge from pain, and redemption can arise from the ashes of your transgressions.