Monthly Archives: February 2017

The Healing Power Of True Forgiveness

True forgiveness is when you can say, ‘Thank you for that experience’.

True forgiveness is not an action after the fact; it is an attitude with which you enter each moment.

True forgiveness is a promise not a feeling. When we forgive other people truly, we are making a promise not to use their past misdeed against them. True forgiveness is a kind of gratitude. When we forgive others we show them the mercy that we have often received and have been thankful for.
True forgiveness is an act of love. It is most healing, most profound when it grows out of humility and realism. It is a challenging act, that whether someone else is entirely to blame in a situation, and we are blameless; there is still in each one of us insufficiencies and imperfections that can be our greatest teacher.
We may not recognise true forgiveness even when we have experienced it. Yet we feel it in our body that something has left us and we are no longer carrying the load that we used to. We tend to feel sorrow instead of rage over the circumstance, and we start feeling sorry for the person who has wronged us rather than being angry with them.
The muscular tensions that we had come to assume were normal get eased. We become less vulnerable to infection or to far more serious illness. Our immune system lifts, our face muscles let down. Food tastes better, and the world looks brighter. Depression radically diminishes. We become more available to others and to ourselves.
True forgiveness doesn’t lead to forced reunions, as there may be some people whom we are better never to see, to hear from, or even think about for more than a few moments at any time. But it help us to let people go from our thoughts, to release them from any wish that could harm them, and to bring us cleansing freedom.

We may be able to discover true forgiveness in a moment, but more often it takes weeks, months or sometimes years. It is something that we have to open to it, to invite it in, and it rarely goes one way only. As we may need to learn how to forgive ourselves before we can offer our true forgiveness, face to face, or silently to others. “The most important lesson on the road to spiritual maturity is how to truly forgive.” ― Lisa Prosen
To search our way towards true forgiveness, we may need to bypass our rational mind. As it deeply offends the rational mind to forgive truly someone who has hurt us, abused us, wounded us; to forgive completely someone who has taken away the life of someone we love or has simply offended us or misunderstood us. There is no easy way to talk of bypassing it, and there is certainly no easy way to put true forgiveness into practice.
As challenging as it is, true forgiveness is the supreme virtue, the highest point of love, as it proclaims:  I will try to go on loving the life in you, the divine in you, or the soul in you. Even though I totally despise what you have done or what you stand for. What is more: I will strive to see you as my equal, and your life as having equal value to my own, although I abhor what you do and everything you stand for.
Because true forgiveness is, in its raw forms, a virtue that is disturbing and confronting as it is healing and uplifting. It is important to be clear that there is no confusion between forgiving and accepting. Extending our true forgiveness doesn’t mean that we justify the actions that caused us harm nor does that mean that we have to seek out those who have harmed us. True forgiveness is simply a movement to release and ease our heart of the pain and hatred that binds it. Forgiveness is not letting the offender off the hook. We can and should still hold others accountable for their actions or lack of actions.”

The need for true forgiveness starts with an act of betrayal, cruelty, separation or loss. Sometimes what is lost is trust. Sometimes it is a feeling of certainty about ourselves; about who we are, how we are seen, and what we stand for. The suffering that precedes the need for true forgiveness is never welcomed. It may well be the debris in our lives that we will finally and painfully turn into the gold of awareness. But we often dragged towards this knowledge only with great reluctance.
Hurt and suffering pushes us to expand our emotional arsenal, even as it pulls away the security of what is familiar. Forcing us to consider what our values are, and how they can support us; what strengths we dare own up to; and what strengths we need promptly to acquire. All of this is too invigorating to be in any way comforting. Yet as Young Eisendrath has said: “When suffering leads to meanings, that unlock the mysteries of life, it strengthens compassion, gratitude, joy, and wisdom.”
We sometimes use the word forgiveness when we are more correctly excusing ourselves for something we have done or have failed to do. Excusing doesn’t mean accepting what has been done or not done. It simply means that someone regrets what they have done; probably wishing that events could have been different; or that someone is at least optimistic that it won’t happen again; and the matter can be dropped.
True forgiveness is a different matter. It appears to enlighten another realm of experience altogether; a place that is grimmer, more depressing, more shadowy, much more confusing; a place where there is at least some element of fear, cruelty, betrayal or breaking of trust.

To extend our true forgiveness may be an act of supreme love and gentleness, but it is also tough. It demands that at least on party faces the truth, and learn something of value from it. It doesn’t involve accepting, minimising, excusing, ignoring, or pretending to forget what has been done. “Hate is not conquered by hate. Hate is conquered by love”.
Even under most dire circumstances, long before any version of true forgiveness become possible, impersonal love; the love that makes no distinction between us and all other living creatures; demands that we give up notions of vengeance. This may not mean ceasing to be angry, if angry is what you feel. True forgiveness certainly doesn’t mean pretending that things are fine when they are not. Nor does it mean refusing to take whatever actions is needed to amend past wrongs, or protect you in the future.
We often talk about true forgiveness in a way that suggests we giving something away when we forgive. Or that we accepting something in return when others forgive us. This is false. Offering true forgiveness or allowing true forgiveness to come to existence in whatever form within us, takes nothing away from us. It restores us to something that is always within us but from which we have become unbound: a sense of unity expressed through the qualities of trust, faith, hope and love.
The one who forgives never brings up the past to that person’s face. When you forgive, it’s like it never happened. True forgiveness is complete and total. ― Louis Zamperini


The Pursuit Of Personal Excellence

Personal excellence is gained by the gradual result of always striving to do better.

The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential, these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.

Personal excellence is not about being a perfectionist. It is not a goal to be reached, a project to prove anything to anyone, satisfy anyone’s expectations, or unnecessarily stressing ourselves through being obsessive and impatient. Personal excellence is a personal resolve to do whatever we are doing the best we can, in the moment with an openness to the possibility of better ways.
Personal excellence is the life-long process of developing specific mental skills that will lead us to increase the levels of our intelligent self-direction. It is a process of becoming the best person we can be and is reflected in how we are, as well as what we do. Personal excellence is a journey of positive development beyond one’s self. It manifests in self-defined and self-valued achievements that reflect one’s best efforts.
Personal excellence is indicated in people who develop their gifts and talents to the fullest, achieving a harmony in how they think, feel, behave, and believe that leads to productive relationships and outcomes.
It seems as if those pursuing personal excellence do go about some things differently. In some cases, these behaviours are planned and quite deliberate, while in others they are implicit and not done consciously. The good news is that many of these behaviours can be learned and cultivated as we pursue our own pathway towards personal excellence.
There is nothing more satisfying than overcoming a challenge that was previously deemed insurmountable; nothing more satisfying than looking back at who you are now and realizing that you have grown much more than you thought you could. To be human is to live to our highest potential.”

Personal excellence in virtually all domains is guided by mental factors. And the experiences of exceptional performers suggest that there are six critical elements of excellence: Commitment, Belief, Full Focus, Mental Readiness, Distraction Control and Constructive Evaluation. These elements combine to form a “Wheel of Excellence” that provides a working framework to guide the pursuit of personal excellence.

  1. Commitment: The first essential ingredient guiding the pursuit of personal excellence is commitment. To excel at anything we must have or develop a very high level of dedication, self-discipline, passion, joy or love for what we are doing. We must truly commit ourselves to be the best we can be and continuously strive to make personal improvements and meaningful contributions. We require commitment to persevere through the ups and downs associated with becoming our best and maintaining our best performance in order to achieve personal excellence.
  2. Belief/Self-Confidence: Personal excellence is guided by belief in our potential, our goal, the meaningfulness of our goal, and trust in our capacity to reach that goal. Believing in ourselves and having confidence in our capacity allows us to extend our limits, create our own opportunities and push through performance barriers. Where there is firm belief in our capacity to carry out a mission and absolute connection with our performance, doors are opened to higher levels of excellence. When negative thoughts interfere with trust, performance wobbles. In the same way that belief can unlock doors, doubts can place limits on possibilities and potentials. In the presence of belief our performance blossoms; in its absence we can never touch our potential.
  3. Full Focus: Focusing is the single most important mental skill associated with performance of personal excellence. It refers to the ability to concentrate fully on what we are doing, seeing, reading, hearing, learning, feeling, observing or experiencing while we are engaged in the activity or performance. Focusing fully not only allows us to connect totally with what we are experiencing, but also frees us to perform without being disturbed by distracting thoughts.
  4. Mental Readiness: Personal excellence requires us to become skilled at getting the most out of our daily learning and living experiences. This begins with a commitment to make the most of each learning and performance opportunity. Personal excellence demands that we develop an effective way to enter a high-quality, focused performance zone on a consistent basis. We need an effective mental plan that is capable of bringing us to an intensified state of readiness for learning and performance. To excel at learning, performing, or living, we must extend an openness to learn and a commitment to an ongoing personal growth. We must engage ourselves in a continual process of self- discovery, and act upon those discoveries that lead us to our best focus and best performances. Our focus is the leader. When we discover what works best and feels best, we must follow that path, even in the face of obstacles from others who may dictate another path.
  5. Distraction Control: The fifth element of personal excellence is controlling distractions. And it refers to our ability to maintain or to regain a positive, effective focus when faced with potential distractions, negative input, or setbacks. These distractions may be external, arising from our environment, or internal, emerging from our own thoughts or expectations. Maintaining and regaining a constructive focus is an essential part of performing to our capacity on a consistent basis, whether distractions occur before, during, between or after events. Developing our ability to refocus in a positive direction is an extremely important factor affecting the consistency of our performance in all areas.
  6. Constructive Evaluation: Personal excellence entails us to develop an effective process for personal evaluation, and act upon the lessons drawn from these evaluations. Constructive evaluation includes looking for the good things and targeting areas for improvement in ourselves, our performance, and our experiences. We can draw inspiration, confidence and joy from reflecting on positive experiences and personal achievements.

“To achieve something that you’ve never achieved before, you must become someone that you have never been before.” – Les Brown