It’s time for Feline Life Lesson #9 – Forgive.
Feline Life Lesson #9 – Forgive – is closely related to Feline Life Lesson #1 – Don’t Take Anything Personally. The biggest key to forgiving, is to realize it’s not about you.
One thing about being a cat that lives in the same space as humans is they are much smaller than we are so sometimes we don’t see them. I couldn’t even begin to count how many times I’ve tripped over or stepped on a cat. Usually they’re smart enough to get out of the way, but sometimes circumstances conspire against us. It’s nothing personal, it’s unintentional, it just happens.
Life is like that so often for us as well. Someone says something hurtful or they let a door slam in your face or they tell someone else your secret. There are so many things that others do that we take to heart and refuse to forgive.
Take a lesson from the cat, forgive, let it go.
Even though I’ve tripped over Marlowe many times in the kitchen, he still hangs out there looking for a scrap. Even though I’ve had to get up many times right after Izzy has made himself comfortable on my lap, he keeps coming back. They forgive because at some level, they know it’s not about them.
No matter how hurtful someone is, you have to forgive for your own good.
If Marlowe stopped coming in the kitchen, he’d never get a little piece of cheese. If Izzy never hopped up onto my lap again, he wouldn’t get cuddles and ear scratches.
No matter whether someone else hurting you was intentional (I have to put Izzy down sometimes) or not (I don’t mean to trip over Marlowe), in order to keep your life full and beautiful, you need to forgive.
For example here are some events and the consequences of not forgiving:
- a man hurts you badly, not only do you not forgive him, you start to mistrust all men which keeps you out of relationship and lonely.
- a friend reveals something you said in confidence so you never share anything personal again which keeps you distant from others.
- your parents divorced and you never got over it keeping you from having closeness with them.
- someone criticizes you and it sticks with you because you won’t forgive so you become ultra-sensitive to any criticism, now matter how well meant or helpful.
- you make a mistake when you take a risk at your job so you play it safe resulting in staying stuck where you are. (yes, sometimes you have to forgive yourself, too)
I’m not saying forgiveness is easy. I’m saying it’s necessary. The only person you hurt by holding onto your hurts if you! Holding onto a grudge against someone does nothing to them. It keeps you from moving on, it keeps you from taking risks, it keeps you from seeing the good in others – and yourself. Forgiveness is something you need to do for YOU.
Here is a list of 23 quotes on Forgiveness.
This is an excellent article on 12 steps to Forgiveness.
A few of my favorites from the 12 steps are:
- #4 – Make a list of the good things that emerged as a result of this awful experience. Almost every time we have a negative, hurtful experience, something good eventually comes of it. A broken relationship makes way for a good one. A lost job opens to door to a new opportunity. A failed business fuels the fire for an even better one. I am featured in the book “Living Proof – Celebrating the Gifts that Came Wrapped in Sandpaper” which tells 39 wonderful stories on just this point.
- #7 – Learn that the Aramaic word for “forgive” means literally to “untie.” Forgiveness frees you from the person/situation that hurt you. If you don’t forgive, you are tied to that hurtful event forever. That sounds crazy-making to me!
- #9 – Stop telling “the story.” The best way to “untie” yourself is to stop dwelling on it. Whether you’re repeating the story over and over in your head or to others, you are dwelling on it and giving it strength. Leave the story behind and it’s power will dissipate.
- #10 Tell “the story” from the other person’s perspective. If you tell the story from the other person’s perspective you may realize that it had nothing to do with you. It may have been an honest mistake or accident. It may have to do with something in them that creates behavior hurtful to others. Maybe there were extenuating circumstances that you have yet to fully grasp.
Practice Feline Life Lesson #9 – Forgive. Become so good at forgiveness, it becomes second nature, just like the cat. This is for YOU. It is for your health, your outlook on life, your enjoyment of everything around you. Forgiveness keeps you free and untethered. It allows you to love yourself and those around you as the flawed, usually well-meaning creatures that we are.
Hugs, Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty