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  • Writer's pictureBecky Upchurch

Forgiveness of Self and Others

I heard a comment once that you’ve never really done yoga until you’ve cried on your mat. At the time, I found it odd. Fast forward a few years, and I was attending a fundraiser hosted by a yoga teacher friend of mine where we did a brief yoga session. At the end of the practice, we did a short metta, or loving kindness, meditation. The first time was easy, as we sent that energy to a loved one. The second time? Not so much! When she instructed us to think of someone who we felt challenged to love or with whom we had conflict and do the same, I chose someone who had hurt me deeply and who I had struggled to forgive even though holding onto the hurt was only resulting in my hurting myself. As the meditation ended, I found myself crying on my mat, as I had FINALLY released the pent up negative energy that was holding me back in ways I didn’t even realize.

I hear people talk often about forgiveness, and I agree that it can be a powerful way to support moving forward in your life. What I think people often struggle with is seeing what forgiveness looks like and why it’s so important. You see, forgiving others isn’t about making THEM feel better, and forgiving ourselves doesn’t mean we have to be happy with our past choices or missteps. It’s about not allowing the challenges of the past to continue to take up mental space and emotional energy that can be better spent elsewhere. It’s about saying yes to focusing on the present and future. It is about realizing that forgiveness gives US the gift of peace, perspective, and the ability to move forward in new ways.

Yet even when we know that forgiveness is something that will serve us in positive ways, it is something that is often easier said than done. So how can we get started on the path to clearing out mental space through forgiveness?

  1. Identify where you have mental space being used on things that don’t serve you, such as regret, resentment, frustration, and anger.

  2. Think about what you might be creating space for if you are willing to let go of these things that are holding you back.

  3. Make the CHOICE to make a change.

  4. Take one small first step to get started. (Not sure what that might be? Reach out and let’s figure it out!)

And for those who are wondering, yes, crying on my mat actually DID help me to start experiencing my yoga practice in a new way…and I highly recommend it😉

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