Beliefnet
Heart of the Soul

Jodi Chapman - Let GoI used to pride myself on being able to hold a grudge for years. On being the last one to forgive. On not being able to say that I was sorry or admit that I was wrong.

I thought that the wall I built around my heart was somehow noble and praiseworthy. If I got hurt, I shut down. If I felt wronged, I pulled away. If I felt attacked, I closed off.

And it worked. I did build a wall. I did protect myself. I did stop others from hurting me.

But was I happy? Not particularly.

Was I filled with anger? Definitely.

I realized that this way of walking through life – mistrusting and unforgiving and shut down – was actually hurting me so much more than it was hurting anyone else. I realized that with each hurt that I went through, my world became smaller and smaller and darker and darker. And I wasn’t having a whole lot of fun living in this lonely space.

So I decided to change this approach to life and try something new. I decided to see if my life would improve if I shifted my perspective and saw each experience through a loving lens. 

I decided to put my pride aside and not see each hurt as a personal attack, but rather a simple misunderstanding. I decided to allow myself to be vulnerable and admit when I was wrong – when I wasn’t coming from a place of love. I began to consider that it wasn’t me against the world – that maybe, just maybe, the world was a loving place and if anything didn’t appear loving, it was a misunderstanding that I could grow from.

I decided to open up. Yes, I would probably get hurt along the way. But at least I would be living and loving. At least I would allow others into my life. At least I would give others a chance before deciding from the start that they would only hurt me. At least I would allow myself to embrace my life.

I decided to forgive. And let me just say that we all forgive in our own way. Some people’s definition of forgiveness means welcoming the person back into their life. Mine is very different. Mine means that I release the charge and the resentment that I’ve carried with regard to this person. It means that I do my best to understand where they were coming from – to put myself in their shoes. In some cases, I welcome them back into my life. And in others, I don’t. But I always send them love and wish them well on their journey. I forgive so that I can move on. I forgive so that I can make space in my own heart for more love. I forgive because I love myself enough to do so.

I decided to give people a break. To not expect them to be perfect. To allow them to make mistakes. To know that one mistake didn’t have to be the end of our relationship. To cut them some slack. To understand that they are learning and growing just as I am, and to realize how wonderful it would be for them to cut me the same slack, too. To extend an invitation to them to walk on this journey with me, rather than watching from the wings and waiting for them to mess up somehow. To trust that they love me, and that if they hurt me it wasn’t intentional. To be willing to heal from it and to move forward together.

I decided to let love carry more weight than fear. I don’t believe that the two can be present at the same time, and so I decided to embrace love as much as I could – choosing to live from a space of expansion rather than a space of constriction. To remember that we’re all filled with this same love energy. To remember that if I wasn’t feeling love coming from someone at a particular moment, that it was still a part of them. To remember that we are all love at our core.

Making these decisions and viewing life through this new lens has changed my life. It’s brought so much love into my heart – more than I ever imagined was possible. I’m no longer cynical and closed-off. I see love everywhere I go, and I feel it in everyone I meet.

Does it mean that I never get hurt or angry or feel rejected or want to run away? No – definitely not. But it does mean that I see the world very differently now – in a more loving way. And so when I feel hurt, I am now able to look at it through understanding rather than defensiveness.

My life didn’t change overnight. Old habits run deep, and so it’s taken me years to make these shifts and allow myself to trust. But, what we give our energy to is what expands in our life. And so the sooner we begin to make these shifts, the sooner love will fill our hearts again and become our default setting. It’s worked for me, and I have complete faith that it will work for you as well.

Hugs,

Jodi

 

about jodi
Jodi Chapman is a bestselling author, an award-winning blogger, and a soulful community builder. She lives her life with love and faith in the driver’s seat, and she hopes to leave a trail of inspiration wherever she goes. She believes that we each have the ability to hear our soul’s whisper and create our best lives. She would love to connect with you!

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