The Power of Forgiveness

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As parents, we are quick to teach our kids the virtues of the magic words -- to say please and thank you and pardon me. To say I'm sorry when we've hurt someone.

We sometimes forget to teach these magic words: I forgive you.

Children are naturals in the forgiveness game, because they don't hold grudges. Watch any group of 3 year olds at play, and you'll see kicks and pushes and toy-snatches and bonks on the head -- all forgiven and forgotten as quickly as they occur, and with minimal conversation. A 3 year old accepts whatever happens, responds as he thinks appropriate, and turns his attention to the next exciting thing.

As adults, we find it difficult to forgive people who have clearly wronged us. We come to believe that forgiveness is a sign of weakness, an invitation to let others take advantage of us. We teach this response to our children by example. On a daily basis, we resist:

Forgiving our ex for not being who or what we needed him/her to be.
Forgiving our friends for not always understanding what we need.
Forgiving our children for sometimes taking their frustration out on us.
Forgiving ourselves for being human and weak.
Forgiving our parents for being human and weak.

Forgiving does not mean that you invite people who hurt you to do it again. It means that you accept that they are who they are, and they are where they are, and you stop blaming yourself, and you stop wishing they will see the "error of their ways".

It means that you see begin to see the opportunities in your situation, instead of just the dilemmas. It means that you turn your face toward the future, stronger and more at peace.

Stand in front of the mirror, and forgive anyone you need to forgive out loud. Feel that tingling sensation? That's a hug from your soul.
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