Is it just me, or does social-distancing during this COVID-19 pandemic have anyone else thinking about the important relationships in their life? If not COVID...did the last few episodes of HBO's "Insecure" not make you think about that?
Relationships, whether they are romantic or platonic, can have their highs and lows. Conflict is completely normal and sometimes may lead to some much-needed distance between you and someone you care about. But does distancing ourselves mean we don't need to forgive?
A few months ago I wrote about not accepting apologies that don't come with changed behavior. While I still stand by that to this day I don't think I spoke enough about forgiveness and how important it is for your relationships AND for your own self-care. Additionally, self-care requires that you look at forgiveness differently than what we traditionally expect it to consist of.
Forgiveness doesn't mean resolving every issue and making it "okay" again with the person in question.
Forgiveness can simply be the act of releasing whatever energy you harbor toward a negative situation with a person (and even a negative feeling toward yourself.) When we don't forgive, we can sometimes hold on to feelings of ill-will or resentment toward people or situations. That resentment tends to eat away at us or reveal itself in other destructive habits. For example, not forgiving a parent for the things they didn't do in your life can manifest itself into unhealthy habits in romantic relationships. Not forgiving yourself for not meeting a goal can result in hesitation to go after new goals or a habit of speaking to yourself in a harmful way.
Self-care is any act that we do deliberately to take care of our mental, physical and emotional selves. It's the act of avoiding harmful things or feelings that can be detrimental to our mental, physical and emotional selves. That means that if we are to consciously practice self-care, we have to begin actively forgiving and releasing negative energy and feelings that we have toward other people, situations, and ourselves.
Tips For Practicing "Forgiveness" For Self-Care
1. Focus on living in the present, and remind yourself that forgiveness means you are attached to the past.
2. Be honest about who you are, and what role you play in every situation.
3. Take ownership over your own feelings and energy - and stop giving negative situations permission to control those feelings.
4. Decide what you need from the situation - do you really need an apology? Or do you need a permanent distance from a person or situation?
5. Meditate on good energy, forgiveness, and the act of "release" in order to consciously process your emotions.
If you have any other tips related to forgiveness, feel free to share them in the comments below!