• John M. Smith, LCSW

I am Grateful...and I Forgive

Updated: Nov 6, 2019

“True Forgiveness is when you can say, thank you for that experience.” —Oprah Winfrey

A few months ago I had a car accident. I was completely at fault. No one was seriously hurt but there was substantial damage to the 2 vehicles involved. Was it a wake-up call for me? Yes, it was. Are there necessary lessons to be learned as the result of the accident. Absolutely. There are many things I am grateful for as the result of this traumatic event. I learned some things I needed to learn but I definitely do not want it to happen again. My gratitude does not cancel out the full range of emotions I experienced at the time of this event, and since the event. I still feel things deeply and need to find a way to understand, integrate, forgive and move on. I am grateful and I forgive.

According to Eileen Caddy,

“Gratitude helps you to grow and expand, gratitude can bring joy and laughter into your life and into the lives of those around you.”

Eileen is not alone in her praise of a gratitude practice. Research has demonstrated that gratitude increases happiness, improves health and interpersonal relationships, in addition to other substantial benefits. Clearly gratitude has the potential to be a positive practice in our lives except when we use gratitude to deny or repress our healthy reactions to life. No amount of gratitude can guarantee that we can feel only positive about life all the time.

This is a challenging time in our world. Some have said that we are experiencing a global wake-up call. If that is so, we can appreciate the personal and collective importance of this moment in time. There are lessons to be learned and actions that can be taken by all of us. And as reactive human beings we can still attend to the issues that challenge us, scare us, and agitate us. To survive and thrive in this time of upheaval, I am suggesting a powerful combination: gratitude and forgiveness. We maintain a hopeful and realistic outlook with our practice of gratitude, and we free ourselves from unnecessary suffering as we spend time each night with our forgiveness practice. I am grateful, and I forgive, and in doing so I care for myself in a time of uncertainty and transformation.