I was reading this post from the Free People Blog the other day, all about how forgiveness is a great act of kindness and it got me thinking about the word, as well as the power it can have.

I am a firm believer in forgiveness; but, not for anyone other than myself. 

Selfish, right?

Wrong. It’s just being kind to yourself.

(Now, just as a side note, I’m not talking about forgiveness when it comes to saying sorry after you accidentally on purpose ate the last Domino’s cookie. I’m on about the big stuff. The stuff that has an impact in your life; that sticks with you for years and you’ll never forget)

A few years back, when I was at my worst mental health wise, I hoarded all the feelings I had to every negative experience I’d ever gone through. All the hate, the guilt, the anger, the regret. You name it, I felt it. Then, one day, I just decided that it just didn’t matter anymore; that it wasn’t worth all the time I’d been spending thinking about it. That was, like, the best day of my life.

Ever since that day, it feels like a weight has been lifted. The weight that was crushing my soul and, to be honest, feeding my depression more than any other trigger in my life.

The thing about things that have happened in the past are, they are exactly that, in. the. past. There is nothing that I, or anyone else can do about them – brutally put, you’ve just gotta suck it up and move on. So, by forgiving the people that had wronged me, I was able to let it go, releasing the emotions I was harbouring and setting them free to taunt someone else.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s easier said than done and there’s a lot to say about the journey to acceptance (I stress acceptance and not understanding  – some things I will never understand!). It makes you stronger, reminds you of the person you want to be, as well as teaching you how to use the experience in a positive way later in your life. For me, all the tough experience I’ve been through have made me the person I am (a much better one than I used to be); I’m stronger, I’ve learnt to love life more and I’ve managed to come out the side more rockin’ than ever before.

So, next time you’re getting ready to forgive, ask yourself this: do you mean it, is it for you and have you actually accepted what has happened? If the answer is no, then you’re not ready to offer your forgiveness and that’s okay. It should be for you, as a way to be kinder to yourself and to help you move forward.