“The act of forgiveness is the act of returning to present time.” ~ Caroline Myss
Like almost everything else, forgiveness begins at home. Self-forgiveness is a form of self-compassion, and without it, we flog ourselves for every little wrongdoing. In addition, we come to treat others the way we treat ourselves. Listen to your judgments of others, and remind yourself that you’re actually projecting your judgments of yourself onto them, probably unconsciously operating the way you were programmed in your family of origin. Everyone makes mistakes all day long. Own yours! Apologize when you can, then start over with a greater understanding of what you did wrong. When you begin to forgive yourself for your imperfections, you begin to change positively from the inside out. And when that happens, forgiveness naturally flows outward to others.
But forgiveness for ourselves–or from another–is not a natural process. It’s not something either “should” do; it happens when we are ready. Like in any dynamic development, glimmers of forgiveness may emerge unexpectedly, then, just as suddenly, recede. Stay open but keep moving forward. If you’ve hurt another, move forward with forgiveness. If it’s not received well, don’t compound it with impatience. Let the other come towards you when she or he is ready. Meanwhile, give yourself permission to forgive your past mistakes. Remember, forgiveness doesn’t happen all at once–it comes in stages and may never feel complete.
Forgive only when your heart tells you it’s the right time. Forgiving prematurely can hurt you further because forgiving too soon denies the truth. You are on your own timetable. Take your time and stay present. Just remember that waiting too long, holding onto anger, can be toxic to your body, mind, and spirituality. Holding tightly creates resentment that keeps you sick and stuck. Suffering doesn’t make you a better person. In fact, it demonstrates self destructive behavior. Treat yourself with kindness and it will prelude to others. Obsessing over the past won’t heal your heartbreak, but forgiveness of yourself and others can restore you both.
Taken from Mirror of Intimacy: Daily Reflections on Emotional and Erotic Intelligence