One of my favorite quotes is by Lili Tomlin: "Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past". This quote is so revealing and true, in so many ways. In therapy, though we do focus on gaining a better understanding of how our family system and childhood has impacted us to be the person we are today (strenghts and weaknesses, alike), it's also about learning how to change life patterns. To stop reacting to things as though we are stuck in our past. This quote is a great example of how, when we choose to forgive, we are accepting the very thing we cannot change-- our past-- while at the same time, creating hope for our future and how things can be different, if we only challenge ourselves to be different from this point forward.
Forgiveness means letting go-- freeing ourselves to move forward and accept what we cannot change about our history. It truly is a sense of freedom when you forgive. You are basically saying that, from this point forward, I am no longer allowing my past (or anyone in my past) to have control over me and my future.
How have you forgiven from your past? Do you still hang onto hope that somehow your past will magically be different?
Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling. Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.