The Art of Forgiving | The BridgeMaker

The Art of Forgiving

By on Mar 10, 2011

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you. – Unknown

Love is one of my personal themes for 2011.

One of the things I have noticed is when I have an intention to focus on something; the Universe answers my prayers by giving me numerous opportunities to practice. Often, those opportunities come one after another, like the volume just got cranked up and everywhere I turn I bump into “my stuff.”

Last weekend was a great example. I’ve been working with self-love and compassion – for myself, within my relationships, and with the Divine. Last Friday I felt an intuitive nudge to invite my blog subscribers to receive a special gift. Inclusive of this offer was a condition that felt important to me. I wanted to get the email out before I left to visit a dear friend.

I wrote the email invitation, sent it and felt pretty good about I offered. Before leaving for my trip, I checked my emails, excited to see who was interested to receive my gift. I had a number of quick replies emails including one from my dear friend Anita who wondered why I had included a condition with my offer.


My initial reaction was anger and defensiveness. I sent a quick email reply that was a bit edgy. Once on the road, my emotions and thoughts went wild. I was all over the place shifting from anger, feeling I had done something wrong, to righteous indignation, the desire to be right without defending myself.

On the flip side I was exploring the message and blessing from the experience, recognizing the underlying beliefs that were at play, appreciating Anita for being in service to my healing and growth, releasing my inner turmoil to God, then yanking all the drama back…cycling round and round.

I was both the observer witnessing the craziness I was creating while being hooked into the story at the same time. By the time I reached my friend’s house 90 minutes later I was feeling exhausted.

Asking for forgiveness

The following night, Anita called me. There was no mention of the emails and I could feel a wall between us that is rarely there. We have a very genuine and authentic friendship with a commitment to clear things up right away.

I needed to tell her the affect her email had on me and my head was talking me out of it. “Why don’t you just let it go Lorraine? Is it really that important or are you turning this into a big drama for control and validation?

The truth was that the more I tried to discount sharing what had happened, the more disconnected I felt from myself and with Anita.

I had to tell her.

So, I briefly talked about how pissed off I had felt; the awareness that was revealed from the drama I created, and thanked her for being of service to me. As she listened, she chuckled in appreciation and compassion for my drama creation.

As we continued to chat, I still felt disconnected from her, like something was out of sync. I became aware of feeling guilt and shame. I realized I needed to ask for her forgiveness. Forgiveness for directing all that anger towards her, forgiveness for the judgments I had felt, and the story I created in my mind to feel better about myself at her expense.

So I asked. “Will you forgive me?

Of course!

Will you forgive yourself?

Yes….I will.

Everything shifted into peace. I felt clean, connected with myself, my Divinity, and with Anita. I could feel my soul smile.

Three loving actions that make my soul smile:

Telling the truth.
Expressing what had happened in a loving and healthy way allowed me to release what I was still holding onto that had created an unconscious rift in our friendship.
Asking for forgiveness.
Allowing my vulnerability and humanity to be revealed created the pathway for healing. There is a need for forgiveness when there is blame that often results in a misunderstanding or taking things personally.
Forgiving myself for being less than love.
99.99% (I think it’s really 100%) the person we are the most upset with is us. The truth is we mess up. We overreact, get angry, and make mistakes. I have found that as my heart breaks open, embracing my humanity with humility and compassion has deepened my ability to love.

Forgiveness is an act of love and compassion. It is through our humanness that our greatness emerges. In times of extreme pain, if we are willing to soften our hearts, let some of our protective guard down, and be willing to be vulnerable, many miracles can happen. I believe all prayers are always answered although they don’t always match the picture of what we expect.

Look at your soul:

  • Would you be willing and open to forgive yourself for any judgments you might be holding?
  • If you were more compassionate and forgiving, how might your attitude change towards yourself? Others? Your life?
  • What might you do differently? How would you feel and think differently?

Grief and sadness lies beneath anger. As long as we remain judgmental and unforgiving, we are unable to release the pain and come to a place of resolution and inner peace.

Approaching life with wonder, like we did as innocent children, invites us to see and attract options and possibilities that can resolve challenges and bring Grace. In wonder we delight in the blessings, gifts, and wonderful surprises The Divine has for us.

The next time someone does something that upsets you or you do something that you regret and judge, ask yourself:

What would love see?
What would love hear?
What would love do?
What would love say?

And then allow love to guide you in responding with a compassionate and forgiving heart.

Imagine walking through eyes looking through the eyes of love every day.

Imagine if we all did that?

Imagine the world we would create?

Why not start today?

Lorraine Cohen is the CEO and founder of Powerfull Living. Join Lorraine on May 15 and 17 for two FREE calls: Awakening to Love: Revealing Your Courageous Heart in an Insane World. You are invited to register here.

  • @ Debbie – the part about asking for forgiveness from Anita was a new piece for me and her question to me about forgiving myself was the completion to the process of shifting to peace for me. Love was the fuel.

    @ Marcus. Thank you for adding your voice! I just came back from a deep healing weekend that included several processes about love and forgiveness. It was amazing to see how much was still being held at deeper levels that was ready to be released. So powerfull.

    @ Shanie. Great reminder totake those deepbreaths to center back inthe heart. Upon refelction I marvel at the beauty of how my process unfolded. The awareness that came from the struggle that led me to the healing and release was perfection. Had I used a technique at that time to unhook, I might have missed what happened. The next time I do get caught up, using breath will be a great thing to do.

    @ Dia. YES. Forgiveness is the key to letting go and shifting into peace.

  • Dia

    Hi Lorraine and Alex,

    Very nice post about forgiveness. Forgiving ourselves is crucial, so we put the pain behind us. Otherwise, we would stay living with pain and resentment. When we forgive, we are freeing ourselves…

    Thanks for sharing