Lightening our emotional load is worth it, every time. It accelerates our growth, allows us to maintain alignment in times of strife, and transforms our perspective and experience. There have been too many times in my life that I was clueless to what I was carrying, until I put it down. After letting loose various accumulated baggage I had picked up along the road of life, I realized immediately that I could breathe easier, think more clearly, listen better, and be more present to myself and others. But I didn’t know what I was carrying until I stopped and gave myself a chance to put it down.
Over a decade ago, I went through a breakup that was both relieving and surprising. But the relief didn’t come right away. At first, I felt let down, so deeply disappointed by the person I had ended the relationship with that I wasn’t sure how to pick up the pieces. In my perception, he withheld his love and replaced it slowly, over time, with cruelty. I was confused and angry and hurt. I asked myself, How did I not see it coming? How could I have let myself stay in the relationship? How could he treat me like that? I was beating myself up. I was blaming and judging him. But everything I was thinking and feeling was only hurting me. All the pain I was carrying was weighing me down and promising a very challenging future.
Caroline Myss, author and renowned medical intuitive, tells us that forgiveness is the ultimate act of self-love. And as I allowed myself to admit that no one was being burdened by my pain but me, I became intolerant to the emotional experience I was answering to. I started to forgive him…and myself. And through my process of forgiveness, my perception and experience transformed.
I saw that I had truly been doing the best I could. I saw that he had also been doing the best he could. Maya Angelou says, “When we know better, we do better,” and our heroic poet and sage is right. We are all doing the best we can given the information and education we have in the moment. Is ignorance now an excuse for terrible behavior? Of course not. Awakening from ignorance to knowledge is found through the power of examination; through stopping and contemplating what there is to forgive. This promotes insight, which promotes choice, which promotes new action. Every time we take a step toward self-love, we support the awakening wisdom of the whole. Your self-love matters.
Today, I’m offering the practice of forgiveness as one way to alleviate unneeded stress and strain. Forgiveness unchains us from the burden of blame and victimhood. It frees us from the heaviness of shame and guilt. It allows us and others to live their lives more freely.
When we forgive, we lighten our load. We allow our light to shine more brightly. We can move at greater velocity on our path, we can navigate life’s hurtles with more grace and ease, and we can smile more easily. Right now, the world needs our light. Your loved ones need your light. And we deserve to radiate because it feels good.
Join me in our practice of forgiveness. . . and give yourself permission to shine.