I first became acquainted with Iyanla Vanzant when she first came out on Oprah. Something that struck me about her then and that continues to strike me now, is the loving manner in which she tells it like it is. She invites you to reflect about your life as a sister would… with love and compassion, but truly encouraging you to live a life that allows you to be better and freer. In other words, she has very little tolerance for B.S. and she inspires you to have very little tolerance for your own B.S..
What Is Our Biggest Issue with Forgiveness?
While living a better and a freer life can sound like a cliche or a generality, Iyanla’s book, Forgiveness: 21 Days to Forgive Everyone and Everything, is a flashing, bright, neon, symbolic sign (which many of us can’t see or simply ignore) of what many of us need— to forgive— in order to live unchained to our past and little by little, untether ourself from our issues. Think about it, what usually holds you back? Fear that you’ll get hurt if so and so does such and such to you. Put another way, you’re afraid that you’ll taste humiliation again, and you’re afraid because you dislike the taste of humiliation (who likes it?) within your own body. And who controls what goes on in our own body? We do. The act(s) you lived through that you think is/are so horrendous happened in the past, but you continue to relive it/them in the present. It’s like watching the scariest movie scene that “traumatized” you over and over again, instead of focusing your attention elsewhere. Who does that? As incomprehensible as it might be, we do. Why? Because at some subconscious or conscious level, revisiting these undesirable episodes in our life and rehashing them to the people in our life and the new people that we meet works for us.
You willingly let fear paralyze you because you would rather be be paralyzed than be hurt.
Paralysis, isn’t as painful as hurt. As you’ve probably experienced, many times, after we’ve been hurt, we build a wall around us SOOOO high that we prevent others from entering our lives and sadly, those people who WANT to be in our lives hardly ever are “out to get us.” Sadder still, those people who love us dearly, hardly ever get a chance to truly enjoy us… because we’re so adamant about keeping these walls up and we have a super annoying laser-focus on how we’ve been hurt in the past (rather than an appreciative focus on the present) that we can’t fully experience the love that surrounds us. But hey, I understand, shifts happen, and even the people who love us, hurt us from time to time. Being close to someone poses that “danger.” Think about it this way, just because there are traffic signs that warn us and help us maneuver our way on a physical road, doesn’t mean that there won’t be mistakes and/or accidents along the way. Likewise, knowing that the people who love us don’t typically want to hurt us, doesn’t mean that they won’t. They could misread our signals (especially the yield, stop and go signs), get the signs mixed up, be stuck in traffic in their own life and have their own issues to deal with. Their reaction to you is not always just about you... they have a life, too, you know? 😉 Plus, nobody’s perfect. Even you’re not perfect with yourself. And honestly, sometimes you don’t show (not demand from) the world how you would like to be treated. Think about it, we say we love ourselves, but sometimes, we hurt our own selves. Two of the many ways that we do that is by not forgiving ourselves and forgiving others. Believe it or not, there are things that we have to forgive that we’ve done to ourselves. Do you consider yourself your worst critic? You see? That’s what I mean!? When it comes to forgiving others, please, don’t use the phrase, “I’ve been working on forgiving so and so for (x number) of years” and think that the higher the number the more heroic your efforts. If you haven’t forgiven someone it’s because you don’t want to. Forgiveness doesn’t require years of constant effort, because it’s a decision. And a decision can be made in a small amount of time… often in an instant. As the book Forgivenessshows, though, there are many areas of our life that need healing, and we may have some blockages along the way, but 21 days should be, and is, more than enough time to forgive… especially when you consider that the person who most benefits from the act of forgiveness, is you.
What Can the book Forgiveness Teach Me?
Thankfully, this book, Forgiveness, teaches us how to use self-reflection, journaling, honesty in answering Iyanla’s questions, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), Iyanla’s guided meditations, forgiveness scripts and our willingness to focus on something other than our past and our wounds to move forward. In other words, we can learn to acknowledge our pain, and our hurt, but we need to move forward. Otherwise, we’re just scratching the wound and it’ll never heal. And really, isn’t that sad! and literally painful?
Working on Forgiveness Is a Gift that Keeps on Giving
As if the gift of forgiveness wasn’t enough, this book is a gift that keeps on giving. If you know Iyanla, you will have noticed that she is generous and so is her publisher, Hay House. For that reason. It shouldn’t surprise you to know that you can get bonuses with the purchase of this book. They can be found by visiting the following link: http://promos.hayhouse.com/vanzant/120313email/ This book stands on it’s own, but the resources make the book even more vivid and applicable.
Does EFT Work?
Now, in order to address what is perhaps your biggest question: does EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) work? It does work if YOU do the work. You have to commit to doing it and do it as often as needed. And there are other things that work as well of course. If you are experiencing blocks in love, work, relationships, health, mental wellbeing and in your finances, you need to take proactive action, but you also have to forgive. Many times, forgiveness, is the first step to moving ahead in life, but we’re often so conditioned to take action, think positively and/or accept our reality as “status quo” that it doesn’t occur to us to forgive. After all, we’re also encouraged to compartmentalize the way that we live and to separate the good, or in this case the so-so, from the bad. You think… “I haven’t forgiven _____, but that can’t possibly have anything to do with why my income is less than it once was.” But as this book teaches us, things that don’t seem to have a connection do. And forgiveness and lack of thereof, has a huge connection to our blocks, sabotages and in life.
What Does it Take to Forgive?
Forgiveness requires a high degree of self-love because it necessitates that you have enough compassion to not necessarily let someone else off the hook for what they did, but to let YOURSELF off the hook for letting that incident happen to you, for not removing yourself from the situation sooner, for making a decision that you could’t exactly know would yield an undesired result, stop thinking that you have to avenge or keep score of any misdoings and continuing to believe that you have to be affected by the negative incident(s). You have to especially let yourself off the hook by not punishing yourself and stop believing that due to what’s happened to you, that you can’t or shouldn’t be happy.
Happiness should be what redeems you from your hurt and your pains.
Asking you to be happy may seem like an impossibility, but look at it this way, since you can’t change the past (although I KNOW you wish you could), what would make all your suffering “worth it”? Being happy, right? Meaning if you had to go through that tough time, the least you can expect/wish for is going through a really good time now. Of course, you can (and should) learn from and be wiser thanks to your past hurts (because yep, as hard as it is to accept, or as cliche as it may seem, everything DOES in fact happen for a GOOD reason). As Oprah and Maya Angelou have said, “when someone teaches you who they are, believe them.” So be wiser with whom you allow to be a guest in your life. Don’t justify their misdoings for them and don’t stop listening to your intuition just because you feel sorry for them. Apply this to yourself as well… if you don’t want to be the victim of a situation, make sure that your mentality is not that of a victim. Don’t fall into the trap that “it’s better to be the victim than the perpetrator” just because it’s more socially acceptable to be the former instead of the latter. Don’t retell your sad stories to the world over and over again just because you want other people’s empathy. You know what society loves even more than victims? Heroes of their own story that inspire others to live THEIR life fully. In sum, it comes down to one question: Are you going to continue being a victim and publicly lick your own wounds forever or are you going to use your voice to speak your truth, to state your dreams and to take your stance?
I received this book for free from Hay House for review purposes.
Now It’s Your Turn
If you’re really up for it, I’d love for you to take the opportunity to answer this question:
- Are you going to continue being a victim and publicly lick your own wounds forever or are you going to use your voice to speak your truth, to state your dreams and to take your stance?
If the above question is a little TMI (too much information) for you to answer right now, please answer these questions:
- What is your best advice for forgiving? What has the process of either forgiving or being forgiven taught you?
Please share your responses with us. This is the type of topic that matters and can really inspire us to move forward in life and simultaneously, move life forward.