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Forgiveness: What It Is and What It Isn’t

Melli O'Brien



Melli O'Brien



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Forgiveness: What It Is and What It Isn’t

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness.

And today I'd like to

talk about forgiveness.

So his holiness, the Dalai Lama once

said, all major religious traditions

carry basically the same message

that is that love, compassion and

forgiveness are the most important thing.

And they should be a

part of our daily lives.

So love and compassion.

I think many of us can find that fairly

easy, but forgiveness that can be tricky.

We often have a little bit

of resistance to forgiveness.

And, you know, I think this is partially

because we don't feel safe to forgive.

We worry that we might condone

someone's behavior, that it may weaken

us or do us more harm than good.

But I think when we fully understand

what forgiveness is and what it

really isn't, it's much easier to

know that it's safe, empowering,

and healthy to let our grievances

go and free our minds and hearts.

So forgiveness is generally defined

as a deliberate decision to release

feelings of resentment, anger, or ill

will towards a person or a group who

harmed or wronged you in some way.

But here's what forgiveness is not.

First of all, contrary to the old

saying, forgiveness does not mean

forgetting, nor does it mean condoning

or excusing any harmful behavior.

And although forgiveness can be

an incredible source of healing

in relationships, often paving the

way for repair and reconnection,

it doesn't obligate you in any way

to reconcile with the person who

wronged you or have them in your life.

Now, it also does not mean

releasing a person from

accountability for their actions.

So we don't need to be concerned that

if we forgive, we just give people

a free pass for their behavior.

Forgiveness can walk hand in

hand with pursuing justice.

What forgiveness does is it

allows us to loosen and release

the knots of bitterness, anger,

and negativity within us.

It involves letting go of deeply

held negative feelings, gives us back

our own freedom and peace of mind.

Forgiving heals you and empowers you.

It allows you to fully recognize the

pain that you've been through without

letting it defeat you or define you.

Paul Boese put it nicely when he

said, "Forgiveness does not change the

past, but it does enlarge the future."

Little by little, as you let go of your

animosity, you set yourself free, you

unlock more of your potential and you

allow more inner space for happiness

and meaning to emerge in your life.

So today's invitation, even

though it's not easy, is to

make forgiveness an intention.

Just knowing that it's safe to

do so and that it's a gift that

you deserve to give to yourself.

As always, thank you for your practice

and your presence here with us.

And now let's settle in

for today's meditation.

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