When you think about forgiveness, if you’re like most people, you think about forgiving for the really big stuff.
- lying about texting with an ex
- sleeping with a co-worker
- having an emotional affair
- shouting nasty and hateful names
- hiding a budget-breaking purchase
The word “forgiveness” brings to mind a betrayal of huge proportions. The stress, strain and negative effects of the offending words or actions are undeniable. You might even question whether or not you should stay in the relationship because of what your partner just did.
To forgive at such a moment is a powerful act. It’s a crucial part of healing both you and your relationship. Forgiveness after a betrayal of this type can be what helps propel you and your partner in a different direction– one that’s closer, trust-filled and more loving.
What many of us don’t realize is how powerful everyday forgiveness also is.
In every single moment of every day the potential is there for you and your partner to damage your relationship by hurting, disrespecting or disregarding one another in subtle ways. These may initially seem like “no big deal” incidents– and they are– except that if they’re not resolved they can accumulate and lead to very big deal trouble.
That “little” slight or “insignificant” oversight can become lodged and then it festers and grows. Building resentment, insecurity, mistrust and distance will be the result.
None of these are good for you or your relationship.
This is where everyday forgiveness comes in.
When you pause in a mini-moment of feeling left out, misunderstood or insulted and you shift into forgiveness, the effects are bigger than you might expect. On the spot, you step away from harboring a grudge or believing that you’re not enough in your partner’s estimation.
You clear space for even deeper connection, love and mutual respect.
THAT is not only great for your relationship, it’s transformative!
Forgiveness can be a tricky thing and this applies to everyday forgiveness as well. It can seem like forgiving is sending up a giant “I’m happy with what you’re doing” beacon to your partner and the world.
And if you feel like you’ve been hurt or wronged in some way, that’s the last thing you want to do!
Re-think your definition of forgiveness. Know that whether you’re choosing to forgive your partner for lying about chatting online with her ex or you’re choosing to forgive him for commenting on the extra pounds around your middle, you’re not condoning or indicating that you agree.
You’re making a conscious decision to stop carrying around the grief and angst because of that action.
You can forgive and ask your partner to be more sensitive. You can forgive and set healthy boundaries. Forgiveness is potentially transformative because it allows you to be free from residue of a painful past moment. You look at what is and you choose what’s best from that place.
Forgive from the heart.
Everyday forgiveness, as well as any kind of forgiveness, has to come from the heart. If you’re only forgiving your partner because you know it’s the “right” thing to do or because you think that it’s what you “should” do, this act is robbed of its power.
Go beneath the surface of what your mind tells you to do and dive deep into your heart. Feel the way that your hurt and anger block the love. Know that you can’t just pretend those painful emotions aren’t there, but you can heal them.
The word “AND” is so useful. You can acknowledge that you feel hurt because your partner didn’t call AND you can continue to love him as you let it go. “And” is a way to be where you are while clearing room for moving forward.
Be sure to include yourself in your everyday forgiveness practice.
How often do you criticize or beat up on yourself for an array of “little” things? If you’re like a lot of us, this is probably frequent.
“I shouldn’t have said it that way.”
“I could’ve been more generous.”
“I wish I hadn’t made that decision!”
Do take ownership for your actions and if there was a negative impact on another person, make amends. Again, use the word “AND” to include forgiveness for yourself.
“I shouldn’t have said it that way AND I will apologize AND I forgive myself.”
This isn’t about making excuses. This is your chance to get unstuck from guilt and shame and do something positive about whatever happened that may help the other person and you too.
The freedom that comes with forgiveness allows you to be at your best and to really be present. You can hear what your partner has to say and you can be honest about what you need. This kind of freedom is what makes it possible to easily create a close, connected and passionate love relationship.