“Unforgiveness is the poison you drink every day hoping that the other person will die.”
~ Debbie Ford
You’ve probably seen versions of this quote and quietly thought to yourself, “I get it, but that person or situation does not deserve my forgiveness.” We’ve all been there. Then, after boring yourself and anyone else who will listen to your same old resentment story, you finally realize it’s time to move on from that relationship, boss, friend, or situation that did you wrong. You believe you can let it go. And that with time, you’ll forget all about it and one day soon it will feel like it never happened.
So, how well has that been working out for you? Years of therapy, anyone? It wasn’t until I reconnected to Marianne Williamson’s work with her book The Law of Divine Compensation (2012) that I was finally able to understand the idea that forgiveness isn’t just about what you grant another person – it’s a gift that you give yourself.
We must learn how to forgive.
I used to think it was enough to frame my days around the belief, “I’m not what happened to me, or the mistakes I’ve made, I am what I choose to become”. But it’s not. We must also learn how to forgive. We have to get to a place of wishing that other person or situation well or releasing ourselves from what we have done. We have to keep our hearts full of love, instead of resentment or self-loathing, because if we don't, we only punish ourselves. Not them.
But at first, our twisted ego thinks it easier to sit there with the anger, toxicity and bitterness inside us, than to forgive. But it’s not just about climbing out from under the dirty grip of how not being able to forgive makes us feel… It’s about how unforgiveness limits our entire life.
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If you’re ready to feel relief stick with me here, because my aim is to bring you same the light bulb moment I had when I watched Williamson being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey.
Marianne Williamson describes the Universe as: “self-organizing and self-correcting, meaning that if anyone does anything to harm you, a transgression or betrayal, the Universe is already on it”.
She explains, “The Universe has a way to make sure you get back in the material world whatever it was that person took away from you," which in her book by the same name she refers to as "The Divine Law of Compensation."
It's the belief that if a miracle, or something wonderful, is blocked by someone else’s actions it is still held in trust for you by the Holy Spirit (the Universe or your Higher Self) until you are ready to receive it.
But (and this is the big part!) if
your heart is closed, as it is when we don't forgive, you won’t be able to receive the miraculous new possibility the Universe is bringing you. When you are able to keep your heart open, the Universe will simply find another vessel, another way, person, time or situation to bring that something wonderful back to you. I held my breath and my heart almost burst open when I heard this.
And how does this work?
Like a file in a computer, if your heart is not open you can't download the possibility. It’s an undeletable file. If you don’t bring it down to the screen and you remain bitter, all will see on your screen of life will be bitterness.
That's when I fully understood that forgiveness was everything. Forgiveness is a place where you let love in. Not just in terms of the blessing you deliver to another by forgiving them. It’s place where you realize people make mistakes and you are only at the effect of someone else’s mistakes, or your own mistake, if you bring it into the present moment and make the reality of that mistake more important to you than “the fact that the Universe is an endless opportunity machine."
The Universe is always ready to compensate for any lack, always ready to correct any mistake as long as your mind is a conduit for love. Any unforgiveness is a deflection of the miracle that would automatically occur if your heart were open to love.
My own healing process
I grabbed onto this wisdom with all of my being — after deciding I was done with harboring resentment over past relationship hurt that could never be undone. And, I was through with wasting precious time over wishing it could all be different. That's when I began an incredibly effective healing practice around forgiveness called Ho’oponopono. You can watch a video of Elizabeth DiAlto explaining and taking you through her version of this exercise here
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I finally understood that without doing the inner work of forgiving the “other” person for their actions and myself for holding to the pain, I wouldn't be able to “download” the magical relationship I wanted to experience. And I’m thrilled to share that within a very short space of time of doing the Ho’oponopono practice, in a moment I could never have picked for myself, with someone I would never have imagined for myself, my heaven-on-earth relationship materialized.
This work has taught me that if I’m willing to live in the present, which is a place of new possibilities, as opposed to the past where the mistakes occurred, I can stand on the ground of infinite possibility brought about by love. And that forgiveness means I’m making the space in my heart for the Universe to correct my own mistakes or damage or those done to me by someone else.
Emma Bathie is a Soul Happiness Coach. Learn more about her work and how to create more of life's magic here.
Are you ready to forgive to let love, light, and new opportunities enter your life? Keep reading:
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We’d love to hear from you: What are your experiences of forgiveness? What's happened when you’ve made the courageous step to forgive? Share your own story in the comments below.