Giving the gift of forgiveness
“Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, not a gift you give someone else.” – Tony Robbins
Trade your expectations for appreciation, and your whole world changes.
Most of the challenges we have in our lives are because we have unfair expectations of other people and the world. We want the world to be a certain way, and when it is not, we get stressed and anxious.
You can’t have a life of fulfillment if it’s contingent on everyone else behaving a certain way in order to meet your needs. We will always carry anger and hurt in our hearts as long as we have expectations of other people and life conditions. When we embrace the gift of forgiveness – forgiving ourselves, others and the world for its flaws – that negativity is replaced by gratitude.
Forgiveness is understanding that the only person you hurt when you’re upset – no matter how justified it may be – is yourself. Even if everything in you wants to blame someone else, consider embracing the gift of forgiveness.
Let go and move on. That’s all the gift of forgiveness is.
Benefits of forgiveness
Do you hold onto grudges in your relationship? Are you stuck in the past, unable to forgive a past partner who caused you hurt? Forgiveness is a gift that can heal hearts and relationships. It can help you learn how to love again. It can strengthen your current relationship. It’s that powerful.
Improved mental health
When you carry around negative emotions – anger, blame or hostility – they start to get heavy. When you make the choice to release them, you’re also releasing the stress they cause. This is why Tony says that the gift of forgiveness is for yourself, not others.
Better physical health
Negative emotions put strain not only on your mind but also on your body. When you live your life with gratitude and give the gift of forgiveness instead of holding grudges, you can improve your immune system and heart health, among other benefits.
How to give the gift of forgiveness
Forgiveness is a gift, but you can’t buy it and wrap it up with a pretty bow. It isn’t always easy to find forgiveness in your heart, especially when it is yourself you must forgive. Forgiveness is a journey, but it’s worth starting today.
Release your judgment
As Tony says: “Don’t try to be perfect; just be an excellent example of being human.” There is always a kinder way, a gentler and more compassionate reaction you can have. And not just with others – with yourself, too. Most people say things to themselves – about themselves – that they would never say to someone else. If you are being too harsh with yourself, listen to Tony’s words on how to release judgement and find the gift of forgiveness.
Let go of expectations
When the world doesn’t match up with our blueprint for how we think our lives need to be – or what we think we deserve – humans can easily descend into jealousy and blame. Catch yourself when you begin to think this way and think of the positive. Recognize when you have unrealistic expectations in your relationship and begin to accept your partner instead, flaws and all. That doesn’t mean throwing out healthy expectations from a partner like support and intimacy. It means shifting your focus away from the small stuff and focusing on the good. Forgiveness is a gift you can give your partner every day.
Ultimately, the gift of forgiveness is about empowerment. It’s about realizing that you are the only one who controls your destiny. Yes, people have wronged you – sometimes horribly. But as long as you continue to harbor resentment and anger, you are giving them power. You must begin realizing that life happens for you, not to you. All of your past experiences can serve to make you a stronger, more resilient person. Forgiveness is a gift that is possible for everyone, if we choose empowering beliefs over limiting ones.
Practicing the gift of forgiveness
Everyone experiences pain in life. While some tragedies are more life-altering than others, the feeling of suffering is very real for all of us. The difference between those who find peace and those who do not is their ability to discover the gift of forgiveness.
Thích Nhất Hạnh
Thích Nhất Hạnh is a Vietnamese monk who brought the practice of compassion to the West. Two of his books, True Love and Living Buddha, Living Christ, are among Sage Robbins’ personal favorite books of all time. This global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist has mastered the gift of forgiveness. His greatest advice? “To truly practice forgiveness we must first forgive ourselves for not being perfect.”
When a four-wheeling accident left Sarah Foley paralyzed from the waist down, she experienced a flood of emotions – including resentment and anger. It was only when she let go of her blame at Unleash the Power Within that she truly freed herself to live a full life. Now she elevates an entire community of women with physical disabilities to smash stereotypes and beliefs about what you need to feel confident. Listen to this powerful Tony Robbins Podcast, “How to Free Yourself of Hurt.”
What about you? What could let go of right now in order to embrace the gift of forgiveness?
What’s your top need that drives your life?
In order to fully use and share our gifts, we must understand how our human needs shape our thoughts, behaviors and actions. Take this free quiz to discover your top human need and how it shapes you.