Lessons on Forgiveness: Stop Punishing Your Future

We must forgive in order to continue to live life to the fullest.

 

We’ve all seen people who walk around with a chip on their shoulders. People who never get over a wrong or a hurt. You know exactly who I’m talking about. 

As a divorce attorney, I came into contact with many people who built great big walls around themselves to avoid getting hurt again. In fact, I myself discovered the art of building a fortress around my own heart. It contained a tiny little door that only my children, dog, and cat could squeeze through. Heaven help the man who tried to love me and knock those bricks down!

I wanted love, but I didn’t want to be hurt again. While I remained imprisoned inside my walled-fortress, thinking I was punishing my ex, who in reality moved on with his life, I was withering away emotionally.

My story is not unusual, I know that. You too have story. We are all on earth right now learning some important spiritual lessons. Obstacles and challenges are a part of the plan. We can not avoid them. But what we can do is develop better abilities to respond to these life challenges.

One day it hit me! I was destroying the future by playing the victim! Poor me! My husband did this to me! As long as I was blaming him, I did not have to look at myself. I did not have to take any responsibility at all for my piece in the break-up of the marriage. How convenient. 

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The truth is, and I’m embarrassed to say, it took my second husband to teach me the importance of forgiving. I met Michael in Israel on a volunteer program. He was handsome and I knew I could trust him. Michael had a faith in God that I admired. He was wise and gave me space and time to learn how to trust, be vulnerable, and love again.

As the walls came down, my heart opened and I allowed him to lead me through a forgiveness process. We took out my box of past memories, which was actually a box of past hurts! It held notes and letters from everyone who wronged me or hurt me. I held onto them because they were the proof of how they all hurt me. We had a ceremony. I shared the notes with him, I asked God to help me forgive them, I asked to forgive myself and we burned them.

It was the first layer of forgiveness. As I forgave, I stopped being a victim. I found my real strength. I started liking who I was. I softened. I’m not saying all this happened immediately, but over the next year, the bricks on my wall began to disintegrate and I stopped punishing my future!

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Lori Rubenstein
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