Week 3, Day 4 – Livin’ by Forgivin’
It is my strong belief that our giving is affected and reflected by the hurt held in our hearts. Not only can the hurt we hold cause bitterness, anger or resentment, but it can make us feel justified to hold back, or act out, in an attempt to vindicate ourselves. And, sometimes, the action is not always directed at the person that has hurt us, either. Sometimes, we ruminate and let the hurt we hold effect our relationships with other people, too. The innocents also pay a price for our unwillingness to let things go.
The thing is, some of the hurt we hold can start as little annoyances that build over time. As we ruminate about the things that bother us, we reinforce their behavior as wrong, and that our way is right, or even superior. Not readily forgiving others keeps the wound fresh, day after day, until we realize that our heart is bothered by something. It takes time for us to search and find the cause, and along the way, we’ve let our emotions influence our giving behavior – to NOT give.
#Scenario – Many people believe a gift does not hold such a high status. Or, that it’s really only ‘the thought that counts’. The importance of the gift becomes minimized as a way to stay consumed in their own worlds. Indeed, it is the thought that counts, and that thought requires empathy & vulnerability to think beyond the ‘self’ to find a gift that shows the other person, “I know you.” When it’s not a thought, but an after-thought, it’s noticed and processed as such. The hurt from being given an after-thought can easily be harbored and negatively grown inside the heart. It then becomes bitterness, anger, resentment (“I always put more thought into the gifts I give him/her, why can’t s/he?”), etc. The action to hold back or act out follows…
A common theme I’ve recognized over & over again while delving into the behavior and psychology of giving and performing acts of generosity is that of – CONNECTION. We yearn to be connected to others, to feel important to someone else and to have some priority in the life of at least one other individual. A gift is one of the simplest ways for us to show our desire to connect. It relays the importance of our relationship, our desire to know and be known, and reflects the love we hold in our heart for the wonderful people in our life. When we choose not to forgive and let go, we ultimately choose to disconnect ourselves from the ones we love.
*Mindful Moments – As we get closer and closer to the giving season, it’s important to start looking at your list of receivers and searching for the answer to why you are having a hard time wanting to give. Is it an individual conflict you haven’t let go of, or has something happened in your life recently that is holding you back with everyone? If it’s everyone, search inside yourself to find the hurt and pain that you are unintentionally inflicting on yourself by not forgiving. Seek self-compassion to move towards healing your mind and soul.
*Grateful Graces – What are you thankful for today?