• John M. Smith, LCSW

Forgiveness: A New Beginning

Updated: Oct 24, 2019

One of the secrets of a long and fruitful life is to forgive everyone, every night before you go to bed.” —–Bernard Baruch

For whatever reason, it was becoming one of those frustrating mornings. Things just seemed to be annoying me as I hurried off to work. I was gripping to myself about bad California drivers, less than perfect San Diego weather, a slow barrister at Starbucks, customers placing their orders way too slowly as I waited impatiently for my morning hit of caffeine. On and on went the angry litany, keeping me irritated on this random morning.

Have you ever noticed that we sometimes cling to our foul moods? I think we feel completely justified in our reactions, and that self-righteous perspective keeps the agitated dialogue playing endlessly in our minds. And with that angry justification, we may feel strong in our position of disdain. “Today the world is definitely annoying, and no one can convince me otherwise.”

At some point in my disgruntled morning I remembered to ask myself a foundational question of my forgiveness practice, “are these thoughts bringing me peace or are they causing me pain?” Yes, I was once again causing myself pain, and with a slight laugh and a gentle breath the irritation of the morning began to lift. And with might be called my forgiveness mantra, I directed the healing energy of forgiveness to myself while extending that energy to all the innocent people I had so passionately trashed. Of course, the mood does not magically lift but a hopeful pathway had been created.

According to Desmond Tutu, “Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning.” On this particular day I had a chance to start again, in a better mood and with eyes ready to view the world anew. If there is a moment you feel stuck in a resentment, ask yourself, “does this thought bring me peace or does it bring me pain?” With a gentle breath and a moment of forgiveness, you too are blessed with a new beginning.