Excerpt From The Relationship Handbook: How to Understand and Improve Every Relationship in Your Life by Kevin B. Burk
I'd like to invite you to consider a powerful concept. This concept is essential--we must learn how to master it if we want to experience the levels of joy, happiness, love and prosperity that are our birthright. Many of us, however, resist this concept. We use it sparingly, if at all, and occasionally, we won't even consider it as an option. In fact, for many of us, this concept is so emotionally charged that I hesitate to even name it, because if I call it anything other than the "f-word" it could put our egos on high alert.
You see, in many cases, avoiding this concept is the ego's front line defense--an effort to protect us from experiencing pain. The ego believes that if we embraced the "f-word" we would be defenseless at best, and at worst, we would be destroyed completely. Of course, it doesn't help that most of us have a somewhat ego- and fear-based understanding of the "f-word" that makes it less than appealing. The truth is that embracing the "f-word" is the secret to experiencing genuine freedom in our lives.
So, what is the "f-word"? Forgiveness.
In order to improve our lives, our relationships, and our reality, we must learn and practice forgiveness. We must forgive freely, liberally, and often. We must forgive everything and everyone--especially the people we are the most reluctant to forgive. But let's take a few moments to consider the true nature of forgiveness.
Guy Williams, a friend of mine who also happens to be a minister of Religious Science, suggested this take on the nature of forgiveness. Forgiveness simply means to give as before. When we are angry with someone, when we harbor resentment towards someone, we have stopped giving to him or her. We no longer give that person our love or our compassion. They have betrayed us and caused us pain. And we know what happens anytime we have a painful experience, right? Our egos immediately create a new frame and a new belief in an effort to protect us from experiencing that pain again in the future.
Our egos are reluctant to accept the truth that sometimes unpleasant and painful experiences are unavoidable. Our egos need to believe that they can protect us. Our egos need a scapegoat--something (or someone) concrete that can be identified, isolated and avoided. Holding onto our anger and resentment keeps us separate from the person or persons who betrayed us. This, in turn, reinforces the illusion that we are separate from those individuals, and distances us from the truth that there is no separation: We are all aspects of All That Is. The less we remember the truth of who we are, the more our essential spiritual and life lessons seem to present challenges rather than opportunities. Everyone always does the best they can at any given time, and that's all we can ever expect.
It's worth noting that when we choose to hold a grudge and to remain angry, we carry the pain of the betrayal with us. We experience a small amount of pain each time we think of it. The ego actually wants us to experience this pain, because the little pain will serve to remind us how important it is to avoid the big pain. And the only way to avoid the big pain is to protect ourselves from close, supportive relationships with those who have hurt or betrayed us.
Frequently, the person that we most need to forgive is our self. We betray ourselves each time we listen to the ego and forget the truth of who we are. And the more we betray ourselves, the more our egos try to protect us (from ourselves, yet!) by strengthening the illusion of separation from the Source. And of course, the more we believe the illusion of separation, the more we betray ourselves, and experience pain. The way to break out of this vicious circle is to forgive ourselves--to "give as before." We must learn to express unconditional love and compassion for ourselves. As we experience this love and compassion, we will reconnect with our true selves. And the more we're able to forgive ourselves, the more we're able to forgive others.
Kevin B. Burk is the author of The Relationship Handbook: How to Understand and Improve Every Relationship in Your Life. Visit http://www.everyrelationship.com for a FREE report on creating AMAZING Relationships.
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