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what are the benefits of forgiveness

A few months ago, I wrote about The Power of Forgiveness and that part of forgiveness is coming to terms with who it is that we must forgive. The greatest difficulty forgiving someone else is that we must also forgive ourselves. This is true whether we were the victim or the transgressor. When we are hurt, we blame ourselves. When we hurt another person, we also judge ourselves. Always feeling if we were only better, smarter, kinder, ‘it’ wouldn’t have happened.

The Hawaiian Prayer of Forgiveness is an ancient practice in many Polynesian cultures. It rests on the understanding that illness arises when we hold onto anger and grudges or have not atoned for our own misconduct. The translation is simple:

exploring self forgiveness

I’m sorry

Please forgive me

I love you

Thank you

Read the words thoughtfully, let them seep into your consciousness and feel the wave of relaxation and peace envelop your body. The words are simple, straightforward and they open our hearts even without focusing on who or what we forgive. The prayer is especially powerful because it applies equally to us as to anyone else.

 

How Anger Can Distort Reality

When we are angry, the temptation is always to look outside ourselves. Someone else caused this. Someone else did something and it makes me angry. But anger erupts from fear and fear erupts when we feel threatened. Threats can be physical though most of us live in safe situations. The greatest threats we face are to our beliefs. Someone doesn’t believe as we believe and that can be infuriating.

learning how to forgive yourself

If you question the strength of your commitment to what you believe, choose any topic about which you feel strongly. It could be religion. It could just as easily, and more likely, be climate change, immigration, or political perspective. Then, recall what happens in your body when the ‘other side’ insists their view is right and you are dead wrong. Notice the contraction in your gut, the queasiness, the urge to fight back – and how hard it is to stay present and listen. Any topic about which we are committed to be right turns us against one another destroys relationships, and, for some, justifies violence – all because ‘I’m right and you don’t have the right to disagree with me.’

The forgiveness prayer

The conviction that my beliefs are right is a wall of protection for my ego. The wall saves me from facing my fallibility. What if I am wrong and have been all along? You will see how wrong I am, judge me and reject me. The shame is terrifying.

Yet, there is something even worse than your judgment. It is my judgment and rejection of myself. I will have to face and live with my failed self. That is the truth I cannot bear. It is the nature of Hell. I will be left with only myself and the unforgivable reality of who I am.

The Power of Self-Forgiveness

In truth, though we all have committed sins, perhaps even great sins, this hell has nothing to do with our sins and everything to do with self-rejection. It is the reality of self-loathing. Always, the person from whom you need forgiveness is yourself and the only person you need to forgive is yourself. Forgiving yourself, you will discover that anger toward any other person is also gone.

I’m Sorry

learning about forgiveness

I am so sorry, dear self. I have denigrated you. I have despised you at every turn. I thought you should know better, do better. I’ve criticized the color of your hair, your weight, the size of your feet. I have been embarrassed and ashamed you are not more socially adept, more coordinated, that you cannot carry a tune, that you are simply unaccomplished. I am so sorry, dear self.

Please Forgive Me

the spiritual development stages

Please forgive me. I have not treated you well. I have said yes when I should have said no. I have kept quiet when I should have spoken up. I’ve been harsh when you needed to be heard, held, and allowed to feel the way you feel. I have bullied you, pushed and pulled, never been satisfied for more than minute. I demanded more perfection, better performance, more, more, more. Please forgive me, dear self.

I Love You

the spiritual awakening process

I love you just the way you are now. You don’t need to be better, kinder, wiser, more loving. You don’t need to be in good shape, beautiful, or healthy. It’s ok if your muscles ache and you are sick. I love you the way you are now. I love you the way you were as a child. Though you were shy and self-conscious and sometimes selfish and mean makes no difference to me. I love you unconditionally. I will go on loving you every day for the rest of your life.

Thank you

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For all you have done, thank you. Thank you for your courage, your dedication and fortitude. Thank you for taking the next step every time. Thank you for your wisdom and your grace. Thank you for carrying me this far in life. I am so grateful. I honor you and hold you in my heart with love.

 

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Are you considering ways to heal, be more connected or enhance your spiritual growth? Schedule a time to connect with Dr. Egli in-person or a phone consultation, to get the support you are looking for. Experience the joys and freedom that come from the continued practice of forgiveness of yourself and others. 

 

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Mindfulness

Meditation: Sandra Egli
Music: Torey Ronhovde

The wisdom of a thousand generations guides you today. Only listen. Without a sound their voices reverberate in your cells. Settle within and choose your path.

All of us come from strength, fortitude, perseverance. No matter how difficult their lives, our ancestors made it through and passed on life for the next generation. Over and over, until it came to you. The intelligence that guided them has also come to you.


To Thine own Self be true.

If I could present you with a single blessing, it would be the gift of Mindfulness. Awareness of yourself: body, emotions, and self-talk, all the time. Our immediate experience is the ultimate exploration that only grows richer with time. What we do or don't do, and the roots of our behavior, are accessible with the simple practice of noticing immediate experience. It is this practice that makes it possible to know and be true to ourselves.

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