Making peace with the past

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This week we’re covering the sixth decision from the book The Seven Decisions by Andy Andrews.

Andy calls this the Compassionate Decision.  It’s all about forgiveness, both of others and of yourself.

“I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit.”

In life, we have three areas of voluntary control:

  1. The degree of satisfaction we have about the past (gratitude and forgiveness).
  2. How optimistic we are about the future (optimism and hope).
  3. Our happiness in the present (pleasure, savoring, flow, meaning and purpose).

The Compassionate Decision helps us with that first area of voluntary control.

And yes, it is within our control to forgive and that’s good news!

A quote from the book:

“The Compassionate Decision changes the way most people view forgiveness. A forgiving spirit allows you to let go of the past and embrace a compelling new future. Harboring anger and resentment for others – regardless of whether or not “they deserve it” – poisons your soul and limits your growth. When you embrace forgiveness through the Compassionate Decision, your level of personal success becomes boundless.”

Forgiving can feel difficult, especially when you’ve been very hurt by someone who was close to you.

The action of forgiving, however is pretty simple.

It’s a willingness – a decision – to release the anger from your heart.

This may take time. Each time angry thoughts of this person comes up, try releasing those feelings instead of holding on to them. In doing so, you’re releasing the poison that’s infecting your heart.

Trust and Forgiveness are Two Different Things

We can forgive someone, but that doesn’t mean we need to trust them again.

Trust needs to be earned, while forgiveness is given.

It would be foolish to trust someone who hasn’t earned it, because you’re setting yourself up for more hurt and pain.

But it’s also foolish to not forgive. In that case, you’re willingly holding poison in your heart.

Forgiving Yourself

Often the person we need to forgive is our own self. Be compassionate with your past self. Make amends with others as needed and as you can and then move forward in peace.

It’s Both Hard and Easy

I recognize that forgiveness is both hard and easy. The steps are simple, but they demand that we take a close look at ourselves and the situation that hurt us.

Forgiveness requires us to put into action the fourth decision – Have a decided heart.

Once we decide that we will forgive, then we’re on the path. It may take some time to work through the emotions, to let the anger and hurt dissolve, but it will happen when we decide to forgive.

The Result

The result of forgiveness is more peace in our life. Remember that finding satisfaction and peace with our past is one of three areas of voluntary control that we have.

We need to find peace with our past in order to be happy in life.


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