Most of us are familiar with forgiveness, whether we learned it in childhood or later in life. It’s not easy. Many times we feel we have to accept the hard behaviors or hurtful words or forget the daily yuck in order to forgive. We are afraid to “let them off the hook.” In reality, when we forgive, we are letting ourselves off the hook. We are saying no to bitterness, resentment and a hardened heart. Have you ever heard the saying that holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die? Not a good choice.
I realized the other day that most of us don’t think of forgiveness in terms of parenting. Parents love unconditionally; it’s natural for us. Yet, how often do we dislike a certain behavior in our child, or feel disrespected, or even get mad at ourselves (or our spouse) for how we handled a situation? Those things add up, and they create walls which keep us alienated and feeling alone.
Forgiveness is an excellent tool to free us up to be better parents. It allows our hearts to stay soft. It allows us to let go of our stuff, freeing us up to parent our whole child (his past, his present and his future). It frees us up to stay in it for as long as it takes. It frees us up to be the healing force we are meant to be.
If you are feeling frustrated with your children, if you feel out of control or just bogged down, now is the time to forgive...it is holding you back from living the life you really want. It is a simple process and will make a huge impact on your ability to connect with others.
As a matter of fact, you can start right now! Just think of the person who has done something that hurt you, no matter when it was. Picture their face in your head and say, ___(their name)___ I choose to forgive you for ___(what they did/said)__ and then repeat. It's best to begin with something small and recent, if you can.
Moms tend to be hardest on themselves. It is important to forgive yourself for the things you have or have not done as well. Maybe you need to forgive your spouse or another family member. Is there a wedge forming between you and your child? Now is the time to let it go so you can move forward from here. Forgiveness is a great start!
This exercise I shared is a great start but letting go and choosing to forgive is a daily choice and an intentional choice. You have the power to have the parent-child relationship and home life you deserve - forgiveness is the beginning.