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  • Writer's pictureHeather Winia

The GIFT of Forgiveness!

Last week was a very, very odd week for me. I felt unproductive, sluggish, unmotivated and just plain blah. Not my normal self at all. I had to dig deep in order to give myself grace, release the “shoulds”, “musts” and “have tos” and just go with what was. Tough stuff we will get to in a moment. On a brighter side, I did accomplish a 1500 piece puzzle with my daughter’s help which allowed me to focus on something other than the crap. It was fun! Puzzles in the winter are one of my favorite things. Not much else got done in terms of housework, or work work but that is OK! I am OK!

There was one thing in particular that happened, very out of character for me and it reminded me of the necessity and the gift of forgiveness! Most importantly, self-forgiveness. In order for me to feel better, I lovingly needed to forgive myself. It was done and over with, no one else was to blame and I needed to release the negative judgments I was holding about and against myself. I wouldn’t hold them against someone else that I love, so why would I do it to myself? I knew that if I didn’t release this, I could potentially hold onto this shame or blame for years to come, maybe even decades and that is NOT AN OPTION for me!

Can you relate?

I remember, years ago, I took a deep dive into learning about forgiveness. I knew about the gift of forgiveness from the Bible and I knew that it was helpful to forgive others for wrong they may have done to you as well as to ask forgiveness from those who you have wronged….BUT my mind was blown when I learned about the benefits of forgiving yourself.

WHAT?! I could forgive myself? You mean, that’s a thing? Forgiving myself? That's allowed?!

WOW, what a powerful gift! Immediately, I could think of a few things I had been holding onto for a very LONG time that would make me feel many pounds lighter if I just forgave myself for the negative energy I was holding onto with others and with myself. We all make mistakes, right? For example, I realized that most of my life up until then, I was holding extremely unrealistic and unimportant expectations of myself, trying very hard to be perfect, whatever that meant. I wanted to achieve the perfect body and eat the perfect diet. I was blaming others instead of looking at myself and my role in various situlations. I was trying to control so many areas of my life and frankly, it was all exhausting.

I used to regularly beat myself up verbally for not being this or that or doing something mean or unkind. I think we all do this sometimes, not on purpose or intentionally, but it happens and guess what? We don’t have to hold onto it! We may not know any better at the time. I know no one talked about these things with me. I had to become aware of them through trials and tribulations in order to the lessons I needed to learn. (I’m so glad as we get older we tend to release some of this mindset, and I am VERY passionate about sharing this with younger generations so they don’t have to go through it like we did, but I’ll save that for another blog post!). I didn’t realize that my uniqueness was more powerful than all of that. GROOVing helped teach me that. And my way of living, my unique body and style were amazing! GROOVE taught me that. The uniqueness of others is all good and it’s what we want! GROOVE taught me that too. I believe it’s time for us to regularly gift ourselves with grace and forgiveness, thereby releasing the weight and heaviness of these past burdens.

Yes, I made some mistakes. NO, I wasn’t always kind. I’m honest about that. I’m deeply sorry about that too. I have apologized when necessary as well as asked for forgiveness. I know I was forgiven by God and by those I have wronged, yet I feel the MOST powerful impact is when I am able forgive myself! It does no good if they forgive me, then I don’t forgive myself. I would never be free no matter how much they forgave me. I would still be dragging that bag of shit around with me today. NOT AN OPTION. My mindset shift was...YES, this is hard to do AND I know it is going to make me feel so much better. I LOVE YES-AND statements! So I choose to do the self-forgiveness practice. To release the expectations and to heal my heart so I can be FREE to move onward and upward! I want to move forward instead of staying stagnant or living in the past. It’s just too heavy. I guarantee forgiveness is not as hard as keeping up the walls, creating bigger divides, sinking deeper into shame or blame or simply feeling like crap every time you think about that event that transpired. It’s not worth it but YOU ARE WORTH IT, WE ARE WORTH IT!

How have I practiced self-forgiveness?

For me, I needed to start by remembering that I was created in God’s image. A masterpiece of magnificence and my own messes!

  • I practice connecting deeper to the Divine through prayer, meditation and simple stillness. Tuning into the truth that I was made from LOVE, for LOVE and to LOVE! Life was happening FOR me, not TO me.

  • I began to move my body for joy instead of calorie burning or shaping it. Dancing for me raises my vibrations and connects me deeper to my Source.

  • I choose to spend time in joyous community with others, honoring and learning from our individual amazingness! People are so cool!

  • I regularly spend time in nature no matter what the weather, connecting with the grandeur of all living, breathing things. The magnitude of beauty this universe possesses is infinite! What I see outside of me is also within me! Yup, that’s powerful!

  • I choose to open myself up to receive abundant and unconditional LOVE from myself and others. We are all deserving of this no matter what.

I KNOW I was not put on this earth to suffer. I was not GIFTED life in order to drag a huge bag of shit from the past over my shoulder. There is always going to be some pain BUT WE DO NOT need to suffer. You may have heard “pain is inevitable, but suffering is not.” Without the pain, we would not be able to know the amazing opposite, JOY! That is my hope for all of us to feel and experience more often...deep, true JOY for what is! Let’s LOVE what is!

At this moment I am very grateful for all of my experiences. Not exactly what they were or how I felt while they were fresh, but what they have taught me. How they have helped me to grow, learn and prosper. The forgiveness piece is a practice just like everything else and directing it at ourselves makes it even that much more powerful! Forgiveness truly is the best gift all around! Oprah once said, “True forgiveness is when you can say, thank you for this experience”!

And with that I say, MIC DROP!

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15 feb 2021

Thank you for sharing. We all benefit knowing other people struggle at times, too. We are not copycats and shouldn’t be but seeing perspectives of others helps us to relate, engage, show empathy and commit to bettering oneself without guilt. Everyone has a “story” of what was and what has turned the switch to move forward. Knowing each story is one thing but knowing the story when it comes directly from the source is a whole other revelation. It truly makes it real and finding a solution attainable. It isn’t a once and done solution, however, it is a solution for the moment. We all continue to keep the solutions forefront and work at it daily. Inspiration comes from struggles,…

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