Every year around this time we Americans give thanks for the blessings in our lives. In particular, we give thanks for the people around us who we love and who make our lives brighter. We gather together with friends and family and we share food and laughter and love and, yes, thanks. But sometimes, in the midst of all of this, we reflect on the losses and the upset for those who are not in our lives anymore because of disagreement or wrongdoing. And it occurs to me that the other side of thanks is forgiveness. And maybe, while we are giving thanks for all that we have been given, are we also able to find room in our hearts to forgive those who have hurt us, or conversely, are we able to ask for forgiveness from those we have inadvertently hurt?

This issue of forgiveness is a difficult one to get our minds around at times. Why would we want to forgive someone we feel has hurt us? We are angry, we are wounded, we have been wronged. But the truth is, while we might have a right to be angry, do we deserve the burden of carrying around our anger and our upset? Or do we deserve to let it go and to move forward with our lives? Sometimes we need to forgive not for the other person’s sake, but for our own sake. In forgiveness we find our ability let go of the constraints of anger and free ourselves of past upsets. Not always easy, but most often very rewarding. Sometimes the way into forgiveness is to ask yourself “do I want to feel this way anymore?” If the answer is “no” then remind yourself that it is your choice. If you truly want to let it go than you can allow yourself to do so. For some this may bring healing to a relationship. But, this does not always mean you have to physically go to the person who you feel has wronged you and tell them you have forgiven them, they don’t need to become your best friend again, you don’t even need to talk with them any more, it simply means that in your heart you can tell yourself “I’m letting it go. I’m leaving the past behind and I am moving forward in my life without continuing to take this burden with me.” The freedom that follows is remarkable.

And how about asking for forgiveness from those we have hurt inadvertently? What better time of year than now to reflect on our own behavior? To take a close look at those situations that we feel badly about. To take the time to think about how we can honestly and humbly take responsibility for our own mistakes. While we are not in control of being granted the forgiveness that we request, a sincere humble apology for having hurt another is a genuine gesture that we can take responsibility for. It doesn’t mean we have to accept blame for the situation necessarily, just the upset that we may have had at least a partial role in. “I’m so sorry your feelings were hurt, it was never my intent” goes a long way to heal wounds. And just as granting forgiveness is not always easy, neither is admitting to our part in a wrong doing. The growth and the lessons learned from this gesture often offers a great reward and lets others know we care about them and their feelings.

What a wonderful way to enter the new year! Reflecting on the past year, listening to your intuitive inner voice and then giving thanks for the blessings and forgiveness for the adversities. What better path to take towards the harmony we all desire in our heart of hearts during these difficult times?

So what do you think? Is it time to forgive and let go?

Be happy and well,
Sari Roth-Roemer

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