Forgiveness is absolutely necessary for creating a wonderful life. Forgiveness is a common way to rid yourself of limiting and begrudging beliefs.

Everybody talks about the power of forgiveness but never how to cultivate it! That’s what we’re doing today. I’d like to discuss how forgiveness can alter your mindset, allow you to be grateful for the present, and let go of negative feelings.

Often, people make a point to forgive themselves or others at specific points in their lives, such as a new year for example, in order to begin fresh with love available for every person. Some may decide never to forgive and continue to let their personal power of accountability slip them by. Forgiveness is a big deal, yet as we can see, it’s hardly practiced in the ways it should be.

New years is often the time people associate with change. But you should be able to start practicing, and benefitting from, forgiveness the moment you decide to!
New years is often the time people associate with change. But you should be able to start practicing, and benefitting from, forgiveness the moment you decide to!

Why Forgiveness is Important to You

Forgiveness is often perceived as a love for others; an unwillingness to become a victim of hate or grudges. However, forgiveness is much more related to a feeling of self-love and fulfillment. This is because forgiveness cleanses the mind of distractions. It doesn’t allow us to become victims because it requires the willingness to take power back into our own hands.

We cannot blame others for our lives, our attitudes, or our experiences, although we often do. Identifying our flaws and deciding not to let them control and/or belittle us requires one of two things. That you either convert your weaknesses into strengths or accept them for what they are. There is no other option.

If you don’t accept or convert your weaknesses, they will continue to rule your mind and your actions. They will create an unhealthy and unsustainable lifestyle. I’ve mentioned the power of acceptance before, but let’s review the key points that will lead you down a road of acceptance.

1) Become aware: 

Keep your eyes open for opportunities to practice forgiveness through acceptance. You cannot control everything!
Keep your eyes open for opportunities to practice forgiveness through acceptance. You cannot control everything!

Don’t try to be devoid of emotion.

If you attempt to become indifferent to any and all emotional responses, you will lose the ability to convert the negative into the positive.

You will lose the ability to differentiate the pain and pleasure and, as a result, you will be lost in your conscious direction. You must try to allow negative emotions to come and go without letting them alter your decision-making processes. Letting intense negative emotions alter your conscious thought process is exactly the same as allowing your subconscious to run rampant with its reactionary measures. It never ends well.

If you have ever said something hurtful or taken action that you regret because you were in “The heat of the moment.” You know what I mean. Your emotions either bubbled out of control or your subconscious was to blame.

2) Fix what is within your power to fix:

Use the tools of knowledge and accountability at your disposal to fix what you can. Don't allow the things outside of your control to influence you and your happiness!
Use the tools of knowledge and accountability at your disposal to fix what you can. Don’t allow the things outside of your control to influence you and your happiness!

If you can directly alter the circumstances that make you unhappy, then do so. If you find yourself having to take secondary measures to change your circumstances, that is, measures that require more than you and you alone, you have gone too far.

Fix what you can fix, alone. Your secondary measures often come across as needlessly controlling and defiantly untrusting. It occurs when you feel as though everything must be your way. Similarly, that life must be controlled and that your happiness is somehow contingent upon external circumstances.

Let go of what is not within your direct control. I recognize that this can be difficult. Often times mismanaged organizations will put undue pressure on a certain party (for example, middle management), simply because they should have everything “under control” with their personnel. Simply put, if there is more than one person in an organization, than there are certainly what I call Cost of Miscommunication.

Miscommunication costs are all the mistakes, false blame, subsequent lack of motivation, and lack of useful communication between all members of a workplace.

And it is expensive. Very expensive. Imagine what could occur if every individual perfectly performed their required duties and no less. Miscommunication costs occur anywhere organizational structures are developed.

3) Allow yourself to accept circumstances in which you have no control:

Acceptance allows you to avoid crushing the potential you have for crafting a beautiful life through forgiveness!
Acceptance allows you to avoid crushing the potential you have for crafting a beautiful life through forgiveness!

Although you should only personally attempt to fix what you can fix alone, you are always allowed to have willing help!

There is a difference between being able to fix an issue for yourself and not allowing others to help you.

If you are unable to resolve an issue by yourself, just know that the help you receive indicates that whatever issue is at hand is out of your direct control and not worthy of negative emotional responses. This can help you analyze and determine your mood before a task even begins!

In other words, don’t feel emotionally responsible for things that are not in your direct control, but allow others to help you change them if possible!

Doing this will aid you in keeping a level head, working well with others, and avoid taking on personal victimhood mentalities in the case that something goes wrong. You can always alter your perception for the better, despite the situation.

4) Move on.

Let go of all the negative thoughts, feelings, or expectations that are not within your control. The traditional Japanese lantern festival is done to commemorate and release the souls of the dead!
Let go of all the negative thoughts, feelings, or expectations that are not within your control. The traditional Japanese lantern festival is done to commemorate and release the souls of the dead!

Simply let go of the emotional baggage tied to something that is not within your direct control. Doing this frees up your emotional energy for beneficial feelings, as opposed to debilitating ones that may become present in times of hardship.

Moving on is simply the act of practicing the self-love necessary to let go of feelings that no longer directly cultivate your desired emotional state.

Perspective-Inducing Questions

Here are some questions that I have developed to make use of your personal discipline that will alter your state of mind. These questions stop complaints in their tracks because they implement a conscious effort for reducing the negative influence of poorly formed reactionary (subconscious) thoughts. This is the path that is needed for acceptance to occur.

Question 1: Do mistakes put you down? Or do they empower you to improve for the next trial?

Obviously, this question is rooted in how you view failure. If making mistakes causes you to quit, I can tell you right now, you will likely not be very happy with your life.

Mistakes are unavoidable and often cause us to identify with being “failures” when this is entirely untrue. Mistakes are only there to show you how to improve yourself, to give a wiser you a second chance at success. That is how mistakes should be viewed.

Allow yourself to make mistakes by putting them in this perspective. Always ask “What is there to be learned from this?” and “When can I try this again?”. Doing so will empower you because you will see that failure is entirely a choice and nothing more.

Mistakes may seem like everything right now, but later on, when the perspective of their influence comes into view, you'll realize that they aren't often a big deal!
Mistakes may seem like everything right now, but later on, when the perspective of their influence comes into view, you’ll realize that they aren’t often a big deal!

Question 2: Have I tried my absolute best?

This question relates to your willingness to succeed in the first place. We often fear attempting things that are new and different because we fear the failure that comes with it. Imagine what could occur if you gave each and every single area of your life 100% effort. No-nonsense, honest-to-goodness, unrelenting effort.

You would likely experience much less failure in the first place, and develop self-love as well. Forgiveness would become a given because you would know that you tried your hardest.

Question 3: Why are you stuck on this?

The unrealistic expectations and negative mindset will make you feel stuck with no way to escape. Only forgiveness and perspective can give you the traction you need to make a change.
The unrealistic expectations and negative mindset will make you feel stuck with no way to escape. Only forgiveness and perspective can give you the traction you need to make a change.

Being stuck on a negative feeling, instance, or situation is a surefire way to develop a grudge towards yourself or others. Asking why you may be holding on to that feeling may tell you a lot about your expectations, and how the situation likely didn’t pan out the way you wanted it to.

Expectations can be very dangerous to our mindsets. Large expectations often come across as controlling to others and limiting to our happiness. If you cannot directly control the outcome of a situation, then I urge you to keep your expectations in check.

Holding yourself, or other people, to an unrealistic standard is a keen way to ensure that nothing is ever good enough. That feeling results in self-induced adversity, victimhood based on future expectations, and an unwillingness to try anything new in the first place.

Ultimately, what should be realized is this, there are plenty of things to be grateful for at this very moment, take a look around you and find some. Pull yourself away from what has happened in the past, and what you expect from the future, in order to appreciate the beauty of now. Doing so will loosen up your negative mindset, and perhaps allow you the perspective to let go of what you can’t control, and benefit from fixing what you can.

The following questions are designed to clarify your thoughts and help you sort through potential mental clutter.
The following questions are designed to clarify your thoughts and help you sort through potential mental clutter.

Forgiveness is about self-love after all. Follow these questions through and answer them in order.

Is there something about yourself you don’t feel very comfortable with?

What about your situation?

Is it something you can control directly? Or do you need somebody’s help?

Can you do anything to fix it now? If so, why aren’t you?

If you cannot fix it, what is the benefit of lingering on the feeling?

Can you learn anything from this experience? If so, then write it down and remember the lesson, but let go of the negativity.

We must all learn to feel our feelings, but control them, and not to let those feelings control us. We are emotional creatures after all. And we have the power to create the very state of mind we choose to live with, but most people don’t realize this.

Studies show that smiling, even if you are in a negative mood, is a surefire way to increase the positivity you feel and present to others. Smiling releases dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin in your brain, the feel-good chemicals!
Studies show that smiling, even if you are in a negative mood, is a surefire way to increase the positivity you feel and present to others. Smiling releases dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin in your brain, the feel-good chemicals!

Ever notice how happy people seem to create happiness in their lives? And how sad people always seem to perceive sadness? Our environments are the results of our thoughts, not the other way around.

Want to create a happy environment? Start working on implementing a fulfilling mindset. Want to create a negative environment? Then stop reading this because we don’t do that here!

Practice your ability to choose your state of mind, and change your life for good!

For more info on how to develop an awesome attitude and lifestyle, check out my other blog posts HERE!

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– Austin Denison