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The Secret To Forgiveness

The secret to forgiveness

This week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to share with you insights about the secret, the missing link to forgiveness, one of the greatest challenges we all face.

First a quick update:

“The top reasons your man won’t say, ‘I do!’”
Watch the interview I gave on The Mike and Juliet Morning TV show, revealing insights about why men fear or refuse to commit to marriage.

In last week’s Success Newsletter, I listed some of many reasons we choose not to forgive those people that we believe have hurt or wronged us. This week, I want to share with you what I believe is the missing link that can help you to forgive even those people you say you could never forgive.

In the famous parable of the Prodigal Son, the younger son leaves and squanders his early inheritance while the elder son shows insolent disregard to his father when the younger son returns. And yet, how does their father respond? He shows compassion and mercy: he forgives both his sons who have seriously wronged him and he works to unite them. There are many powerful lessons in this parable but for the purpose of this newsletter, I would like to speak about the lesson of forgiveness, compassion and understanding.

Many times I have found myself arguing with other therapists who tell their clients to simply forgive but fail to explain to their clients just how to do that. I define forgiveness as “to give understanding for what happened.”  While in the parable it appears that the father simply forgave his sons without even listening to their repentance, the father did feel compassion: When he saw his youngest son who had obviously been without food for a long time and was probably raggedy and sickly, he felt his son’s suffering. When he forgave his elder son, he obviously understood why his son was acting insolently and why he felt isolated and unfairly treated.

The other key to understanding and forgiveness is to accept, truly accept that we are all imperfect and yes, we will time and time again screw up. Regardless of your religious beliefs, I believe many people missed the point of the quote of Jesus’ last words before dying, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” The point here is about understanding that so often we screw up because we are ignorant, we are human and we make mistakes. If we knew better, if we were perfect, then we would act differently.

So here now is the missing link to forgiveness: Understand that whatever the other person did or did not do was not and is not about you. So often, when someone wrongs us, at a subconscious level we feel that they must have acted this way because there is something wrong with us.

Did you know that female victims of abuse often say, “If only I could have been a little more of this or done more of that, maybe he wouldn’t have gotten so angry”?

Did you know that childhood victims of abuse think the same thing also?

Time after time, I find myself helping my clients to understand at a subconscious level that whoever wronged you, did so because of who they are and not who you are. Twice this week, while working with clients, I have used this analogy:

“There is a serious car accident, and the victim is bleeding and his head is smashed open. He is rushed to hospital. People around him, see the blood and gore and faint, scream or run away. The surgeon enters the room and he calmly but quickly takes charge and begins the emergency operation.”

Why do most of the people freak out while the surgeon responds calmly and self-assuredly? The surgeon has the necessary skill. He has the ability, the knowledge and the expertise. The others do not – even those who fainted because they saw the blood rushing did so because they couldn’t handle it. The victim does not determine their reaction or response.

In other words, your mother, father, brother, sister, best friend, husband, wife, son, daughter or whoever wronged you or failed to live up to their responsibility or your expectations did so because of who they are – not because there is something wrong with you. Yes, it hurt, even devastated you but it is over and it is not your fault. It’s time to let it go, to let go of the pain, suffering and judgment so that you can liberate yourself. And if you sincerely feel you contributed in any way to their reaction, then please re-read this newsletter and apply understanding, compassion and mercy to forgive yourself.

From my heart and my expertise, I believe our greatest stumbling block to happiness is the long list of negative emotions that come with a lack of forgiveness and I will address those next week, along with the answer to the controversial question: Is it still real forgiveness if we forgive but cut off the other person?

Meanwhile, I would like to make it humbly clear that forgiveness is very hard for almost everyone of us. Why? We are all human and imperfect, remember? So yes, I struggle with it also!

–The above insights regarding forgiveness are also from my new upcoming three CD set, live presentation and workshop: “The Secrets to losing weight, being thin and loving your body.” Look for it in the next few weeks…

Remember to check out my Blog on my website to read my past Success Newsletters, post your comments and take a few exciting quizzes. If you have received this newsletter as a forward and would like to receive all of my newsletters please enter your email address on the home page.

I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & Clinical Hypnotherapist

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