Have you ever had dental work done and wished you had flossed more when you were younger? The brief action of removing debris and cleaning can prevent more serious problems down the road; fillings, crowns or the dreaded root canal.
What about the soul? How do we remove the hurts and debris of resentments? Forgiveness is floss for the soul and can be a key to your physical, mental and spiritual well being. There are many good books on the subject but all seem to agree that there are at least three steps in this vital process, below are the AAAs of forgiveness:
- Awareness of being harmed, which seems obvious but there are many reasons that we overlook this (and therefore overdo in other areas like compulsive eating/spending/people pleasing to name a few),
- Acknowledge the pain, betrayal, loss in some tangible way – journaling is one of my favorites, writing a letter (without sending it), as well as painting or drawing* or clay work^ or movement to music, all wonderful ways to express your feelings of the experience
- Acceptance that this event has happened and knowing that it changes things, then letting go of the ‘if onlys’, ‘this shouldn’t be’ or other perspectives that keep us locked in the past. There are spiritual practices to help with this piece and many find the act of sharing this process with someone else as a trusted witness (friend, Life Coach, Spiritual Leader) to be beneficial if not necessary to complete this step.
Jesus embodies this process having suffered physically, mentally and spiritually, yet declaring forgiveness through love and empowering us to do likewise. This willingness to accept what is – is central to a life of good relationships and increasing freedom from the debris and resentment. And it allows us to be more loving with others as well as ourselves, and often more effective in our work. So don’t forget to floss today!