I’m sorry, please forgive me…

Those are the words that begin the Hawaiian ho’oponopono ritual of forgiveness.  If you aren’t familiar with it, it goes like this:

I’m sorry

Please forgive me

Thank you

I love you

The ho’oponopono is based on an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness.  It’s about making things right. 

Forgive yourself

This concept first appeared to me as a way to heal my inner struggles, and I began using this prayer to forgive myself.  It really increased my awareness and now I notice when I judge others, judge myself or judge my creative output.  Baby steps.

After all, perfectionism has been a big part of my psyche for a long time.  Now, I remember to forgive my inadequacies and offer myself love.  I have such a long way to go with this, and again, I forgive myself for not being perfect and again offer myself love.

But according to this Hawaiian website, the concept of right relationship is with your ancestors and your family, not necessarily yourself.  It’s about healing family patterns and getting back into alignment even when wrongs have been committed.

Forgive others

OK, I get it.  You’re never fully whole until you forgive others.  All the spiritual doctrines have lessons around forgiveness. 

What’s that old saying?  “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”  When you forgive someone else, you’re really forgiving yourself.

A social slight from another person or an unintentional snub, these are things that I find easy and right to forgive. Everyone is just doing the best they can.  There’s no reason to blame them for my hurt feelings.

But I can recall times in my life where I was purposefully taken advantage of, I was physically harmed for amusement, and I was diminished specifically to harm my self-worth. 

I was attacked.  I was an intended victim. They caused real harm. 

That’s the part that mystifies me.  Forgive someone who has done harm to me?  Doing harm to another is never right.  How can I forgive that?

But somehow, I must.

As I grappled with that question, I thought about how different my life could have been.  If only I had been born in a different family, if only I had gone to a different school, if only I had married a different man.

If only…

Not useful, right?

My life path is my life path.  These are the encounters that shaped my reality.   They shaped my automatic responses, my habits, and my mindset. 

Wait!  In truth, I am who I am because of someone else’s actions against me.  To blame or judge them for being who they are denies my participation in that dynamic.  I’m stronger because I had to grow in order to heal.

It’s like a blade that is sharpened by honing it against a harder surface.  Samurai swords are plunged into fire, welded, folded and plunged into fire to be welded again many times to make a legendary edge that never goes dull. 

I’m sharper, stronger and more resilient because others treated me poorly.  So instead of blaming them and playing the victim, I can acknowledge their role in shaping me.  After all, everyone is just doing the best they can.  There’s no reason to blame them for my hurt feelings.

I’m sorry

Please forgive me

Thank you

I love you

How is knowing about my experience useful for you?  What have been your experiences with forgiveness?  How has it impacted your creativity?


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