Maya Angelou explained forgiveness as “…one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.” What did she mean when she said forgiveness was a gift you give yourself?
We’ve all been there: resistance to forgive. We’ll think that forgiveness is “letting someone off the hook,” and that you are in fact doing those who mistreated you a favor by forgiving them, but the truth of the matter is that you are doing yourself a favor. When Maya said that forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself, she meant that is brings you peace, happiness, and courage. You’re not doing this for them, you’re doing it for yourself, to set yourself free from the feelings of hurt, anger, and helplessness that kept both of you attached for so long. Break the attachments that no longer serve you, this is huge in supporting your forward movement.
In this sense, forgiveness is absolutely an act of strength. You don’t forgive because you are weak, but because you are strong enough to realize that only by letting go of resentments you will be happy and at peace. It is also an act of self-love. Love yourself enough to let go of all the toxicity from your life and free yourself from all the anger, bitterness, and resentments. If you’re mad, be mad. Don’t hide and suppress your feelings. Let it all out, but once you’re done with being mad, allow forgiveness to enter your heart. Make release the goal. Honor your emotions, then move on.
If you’re struggling to forgive, whether it’s forgiving someone else or forgiving yourself, I’m here to help. Great joy and relief is reached when you let go of the old and create space for newness and healing. Forgiveness begins here.