• John M. Smith, LCSW

Meaningful Intent

Updated: Nov 6, 2019

“The act of forgiveness takes place in our own mind. It really has nothing to do with the other" — Louise Hay

Do you want to be happier? Do you hope to free yourself from the past in order to start on a more loving path? Is there a relationship you would like to improve or grow past? Or would you simply like to relieve yourself from the pain of a past event? There are so many powerful reasons to begin and continue with forgiveness work. Decide on a reason that matters most to you now. When you place that meaningful ‘intent’ in your awareness, you will find the willingness and strength to continue to move forward on your healing journey.

I was reminded of the importance of ‘intent’ in a recent interaction with a client. When recounting again a deep hurt she experienced at a past verbal insult from a close family member, she emphatically stated that she could never see herself forgiving this person. I responded with understanding and suggested we not focus on the issue of forgiveness, but instead consider how best to help her to free herself from the suffering she experienced when she recalled this verbal trauma. The idea of forgiveness caused her to shut down. However, she eagerly embraced the empowering possibility that she had the ability to relieve herself from the associated pain – a liberating intent.

Our wounded mind seems intent on holding onto resentments. We can understandably feel justified in maintaining and reviewing our list of people who have hurt us. And the associated anger can give us the illusion of control and power. But as you have probably read in other places, it is the person maintaining the grievance who ultimately suffers. Forgiveness doesn’t change the past . What it does offer is the possibility of healing, and the release from pain. Therein lies our true power. K. Bradford Brown defines forgiveness as “the absolute refusal to hold ill will against someone” – his intent. You have the power, you decide, you set the intent and you free yourself from suffering.