Today I attended a talk called ‘Forgive, Forget and Let Go’ hosted by Innerspace at London’s Savoy Place. As suggested from the title of the talk, it was about how to approach forgiveness and free yourself from the chains of the past.
Presented by Davina Lloyd, the talk outlined her personal challenges and experiences with giving and receiving forgiveness. The premise of how to start the path of forgiveness and building bridges with yourself and others was to find adequate motivation to forgive, whether it was improving and enjoying relationships or ultimately finding freedom.
One extreme but insightful story that Lloyd shared was based on a story listed on The Forgiveness Project. On the site, one lady shared her unfortunate reality, where she had been sexually attacked by an intruder in her own home whilst her husband was on a work trip. The intruder had told her not to make a noise otherwise he would harm her child. The horror of the real-life-story rippled across the auditorium, with Lloyd reporting that the woman eventually realised that whilst the man was serving life in prison, that every day she too was serving life in the prison of her mind. Each day she would replay the horror over. Each day she was in a mental jail. Only through forgiveness was she able to free herself.
It is an inspirational story that an individual that has experienced such terror was able to forgive and free herself from her mental prison. Many of us are lucky not to have had as terrible an experience, yet our own difficulties in life also require courage and willpower in order to find release. Our options are to replay the frustration, anger or wrongdoings of the past or to find a way to release them and move on.
Lloyd suggests working backwards to really explore what caused the behaviour within you that initially constructed a pain-point whereby what someone or a circumstance dealt to you caused major offence. It requires an individual to dig deep to the heart of the issue and observe patterns often created in childhood to realise why you may react in a certain way to a situation. In an argument with a friend, or at work or with a spouse, was your viewpoint really the reflection of universal truth or just a weighted opinion? As your personal point of truth appears universal to you, are you able to start to build a bridge of understanding to each individual who also has a personal point of truth that they believe to be universal? In other words, are you able to attempt to understand how someone else may have felt during a dispute? Whilst you were upset, they too were upset. Both parties were left with wounded pride when perhaps none ever meant to cause offense; their experiences had taught them their point of truth which so happened not to match.
It was an eye-opening talk and seeing so many people in the auditorium was a promising sign of how many of us are committed to self-improvement and finding freedom and happiness. Many can mistake happiness as something easy to come by, but true happiness takes dedication. Much like learning to forgive, we each need to address the dark depths of ourselves and not fear facing them. Only through facing our weaknesses, our pride and ego can we begin to deconstruct that which doesn’t serve us. Only then are we able to forgive and love ourselves and others.
Innerspace.org.uk – for self-improvement talks and meditation (they also host content on their YouTube channel for any readers outside of London)
Theforgivenessproject.com – for inspirational stories about forgiveness