|March Third Imprints
|5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.60(d)
Quick Question: Could you forgive someone who has hurt you or someone you love? According to R.A. Clark, an award-winning educator, life coach and author of the groundbreaking, new book about forgiveness, "When God Stopped Keeping Score," for millions of people that answer would be a simple "no." Clark reveals, "Even in knowing that good and bad things are going to happen to almost everyone, how can anyone find forgiveness, when they never learned how to forgive themselves for 'allowing' it to happen in the first place?"
"The problem is," Clark suggests, "that most people are too concerned with the fact that they have been hurt to even consider forgiveness. Look at what happens when any celebrity, politician, or sports athlete betrays our trust in them. We never look at them the same way again. We don't want to see their movies, buy their albums, watch them play, or even, vote for them, as a politician. Yet, if we make a mistake, we often are the first to apologize to other people with a simple 'I'm sorry,' 'Excuse me' or 'I apologize.' This shows that we want other people's forgiveness. We want to move forward."
"The question then becomes, have you ever learned to apologize to yourself?" Clark questions. "You will hear someone say 'How could I have been so stupid?' when something happens faster than you'll hear, 'I owe myself an apology for allowing that to happen, or having did that. I should have paid more attention to what I was doing.' This almost never happens for anybody. How can you find forgiveness in others, or have other people forgive us, when we haven't found it for ourselves? This is a common mistake."
"The truth is forgiveness requires honesty." Clark reveals, "Some people simply don't want to deal with the reality of their situation and that's that they have been hurt, misled or made a mistake. Denial, guilt and shame are powerful emotions, even when the truth is that what happened is not always our fault, like losing a job or even the family's home in hard economic times. That's another mistake."
Clark also asserts that "It does not help that the minute you tell somebody about what happened to you or what you already did, they either pity you, shaking their head, or they tell you what they would have said or done. This only makes you feel worst. It makes you question what you should have said or done. You will find yourself getting angry again. You are not alone. It happens to almost every one."
"You, then, find yourselves saying whatever is needed to make yourself feel better, like 'I'm okay. It is all right. I'm over it.' In the back of our minds though, you are actually playing a daily game of 'what if.'
'What if I did this or what if I did that?' The one person that you end up blaming for all of this will be yourself or try to rationalize it by blaming others. This is another very common mistake that many people make. The truth is, we are not always entirely at fault for everything we do. Even adultery takes two people to commit. That's why, we should always accept responsibility for the things that we do and role that we play in each situation that we encounter."
"That is why self-forgiveness is the key. It helps to bring closure to the pain and suffering that you might feel. Forgiveness simply means 'to stop feeling anger and resentment towards a person or at an action that has caused upset or harm.' It doesn't matter if the person who has been hurting you is you. When you are finding forgiveness, forgiveness isn't about what happened to you, it is about how you respond to it. "
"With forgiveness," Clark provides, "your goal is to acknowledge that something bad has happened, forgive yourself for what happened and learn to move on by accepting the truth that you can not change what happened, but you can change what happens next. Most people can't do this because they consider forgiveness a sign of weakness, which is another mistake."
"Forgiveness is actually a sign of strength," Clark reveals. "By forgiving others, you are putting faith in yourself to be a better person. You have to take the initiative to become better, to actually be better. You are easing the guilt that is deep down inside of you and promoting a healing of your mind, body, and soul. That's why forgiveness is for you, and not for the other person."
"You have to believe that forgiveness is possible for everyone, especially you," Clark continues to stress. "It takes time and it takes patience. Yet, as long as you avoid the mistakes of continuing to blame yourself and not taking the time to forgive yourself, it will become a valuable tool in your everyday life. When it does, it will allow you to forgive early and forgive often."