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The Art of Forgiveness

Written by Laura Moseley

My guest today is Laura Moseley from The DV Walking Wounded. Thank you, Laura, for sharing something that is so important for others to see! I commend you for your strength and for teaching other women, all is not lost. Laura is a survivor, and you can be too!

“Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.”

CS Lewis

I learned about forgiveness early on, as a young child. My father always told me, “Those who anger you, own you.” That was the way that he instructed me to not let others dictate my behavior, which opened the door to forgiveness of others. My family was very ingrained in our church, so I was taught to receive forgiveness, I myself had to forgive. It wasn’t until I was a married adult, did I learn the proper way to forgive and “mean it.”

I had NO idea that there was a formula to forgiveness, until recently. I always knew that there was a technique to it, but not that there was an actual formula. I am going to break down the formula, putting my spin on it. I feel like I have massive experience in the “forgiveness” department, after surviving a twenty-six-year marriage to an abusive man AND surviving and healing from sexual abuse from a former boyfriend when I was just a teenager. I have had to forgive these people, even though I’ll never receive a formal apology, to live my life. I also will not allow them to do anything else, ever again. It’s the “Fool me once, shame on you! Fool me twice, shame on me!” principle.

Step 1: Acknowledge

Acknowledge that an offense happened, one that hurt the recipient (you). Be specific. Example: “My co-worker lied to our boss about taking sole credit for our project.”

Step 2: Consider

How did that offense make you feel? Has it changed your thinking or perception? Mull over what has happened, not making any decisions under stress (either anger or sadness).

Step 3: Accept

Please accept that what has happened (the past) cannot be undone. It is done and acknowledges that it has happened — and do not alter that perception. There is NO guarantee that the other party accepts that. What-ifs are not allowed here!

Step 4: Determine

This is the step where you will “determine” whether or not you intend to forgive the other party/person. This is a pivotal point. DO NOT take this lightly. This point can also dictate the future relationship you will have with the offending party, if any.

Step 5: Repair

Repair the relationship with the person who wronged you. Before any act of forgiveness or reconciliation, rebuild the connection you used to have with this person. For instance, if someone at work has wronged you, you may not necessarily forgive them, but you can let them know that you all have to work together, and you will be professional and courteous to each other. If you say something, keep your word! In most cases, you will be the instigator of this “olive branch,” so to speak. Many people know that they have inflicted a wrong, but “freeze up” and do not try to repair, only to avoid it. Keep in mind that you are “repairing” not “restoring.” If you are going about as if nothing is wrong, that does not solve any problems, but just creates more instances for you to be wronged.

Step 6: Learn

What does the term “forgiveness” mean to you? You really need to define that at this point. To me, I acknowledge the wrong and what you plan to do (or need to do) to correct that wrong. However, I will not forget this wrong, I just will no longer acknowledge that once forgiveness is granted. I am not allowing that wrong to own my thoughts and feelings. BUT, that is my interpretation. As a child, I had an adult tell me that you cannot forgive a person if they do not ask for it. I don’t believe this to be true, now that I am an adult. I have to get to a point of forgiveness for what they did to no longer control my feelings and perceptions. That person may no longer be in your life or may have passed away. You can forgive them and move on, based on time and feelings.

Step 7: Forgive

Actively forgive the person who has wronged you. This may be silent forgiveness, doing so in your mind. However, if you have an issue with someone currently in your life, you should speak the forgiveness. Example: “I forgive you for lying to me about _______. However, this has made me not trust you. I realize that we still have to work together. I will treat you with kindness and professionalism as I always have, but I may not entirely trust you.” The verbal statement may not be met with penitence or compassion, but it is your statement to make. Doing so in a non-threatening way is the way to go. Waiting to introduce it into a conversation, when it is just you and the other party, is best. The silent version is helpful in all aspects, as it helps you to let it go and move on! You may never truly get an apology or acknowledgment that the other party wronged you!

Conclusion

Another point is never to bring this past transgression up if you all have a later disagreement or argument. If you have truly forgiven someone, this is not fair to what is going on in the present! You may recall the past transgression also if there is a history of disagreements or misunderstandings. This may help you to know if you need to cut off the relationship, as a negative history, but DO NOT verbally bring that up. That only adds fuel to the fire and illustrates that it was truly not forgiven. You want to be a person of your word and if you want others to forgive you, you don’t want that thrown in your face. Each transgression merits its own attention! I definitely learned this from being in a romantic/intimate relationship. No one is perfect and I don’t expect my partner to be. I know I am not perfect, so I can extend grace to them — once we talk things through, that is. Communication should be a vital part of any relationship. If it is not, the relationship is not a positive one. Understanding why the transgression happened takes time, but try not to dwell on it too much. You may never fully understand why or how, but acknowledge that you can no longer worry about it! Worrying causes stress, which can shorten our lives. And I’m going to be darned if anyone gets to own my feelings! They are no longer allowed to pay rent inside my head! I release them from that, through forgiveness. I have found life is too short for that, honestly. After everything I have been through personally, I hate no one. Hate is a strong emotion that can kill you. Plus, I do not want to stoop to my transgressors’ negative levels. I am better than that and will conduct myself as such. Not better than the person, but better than the bitterness. Love and light!

Picture of the author Laura Moseley
Laura Moseley

BIO: Laura is a single Mom of three, Nana to one grandbaby, who survived 23+ years of sexual or domestic abuse. I work for a federal social services organization, and also am a DV advocate, activist, speaker, writer/author, and blogger. I enjoy helping victims survivors get out of abuse and never go back! https://dvwalkingwounded.me/

We all start with pure souls

     There’s nothing like a sleeping child, so peaceful and so innocent. It amazes me to no end how such a peaceful creature can grow up to be a monster. Not all children fall into this category but there are far too many that do. Who’s fault is it? Is it the parents, society, the change of the times or the devil himself? I believe that any one of these or a combination of two or more can change a person for the worse.

     I have known people that said that a certain bad person was a terrible child growing up. This may be true but what caused the child to be so? Was this child part of a broken home, picked on constantly by the school bully or possibly laughed at for being different from the other children in the classroom? Whatever it was that sowed the seed of evil into this child, one thing is for certain in my opinion, the devil had his hands evolved in this process. You can say what you will but this is the most logical excuse for such a transformation. Children are not born evil because they are not born with the knowledge of evil. Evil must be learned.

     How can you become something that you know nothing about? Something causes this sweet child to become a terror later in life. Circumstances that are introduced into this child’s life has to be the cause of something that changes how this child will view life. If love is not introduced to this child, then evil has an opening into this child’s heart. Evil is the opposite of love and we shall follow one or the other throughout our lives. It is true that one can change from evil to good or visa versa but there will be something that happens to cause this person to change.

      The most evil of man started life with a clean soul. Somewhere along the way something had to have happened to put a stain on this clean soul to create the evil that comes forth in life. Something positive must happen for someone to revert back to the good from evil. Most of the time this comes from finding something good to lead this person away from the evil that they have lived with up to that point.

     So what is this great force that can transform an evil person into a good person once more? What do we see that can take us from a destructive life into a productive life once more? Is it the luck of the draw. Does the world have pity on us and allow us to see the good instead of the bad all the time? Do we see someone that is more evil than us and it makes us change our ways? What can we do that will rid this person or ourselves of this hate and hurt built-up inside of us and others?

     What shall we do to rid ourselves and others of the evil within? The answer is extremely simple actually. The opposite of hate is love. The opposite of luck is faith. The opposite of the devil is God. We have the ability to change not only ourselves but the others around us by seeing the good through the bad and making the correct choices. Others who see how much better our lives are by using the good, faith and God will soon want to try this for themselves. The most horrible person can have a change of heart if only someone will show them how. If you live with peace in your heart and allow it to show through your everyday life, others will want to be like you. They will pay very close attention to you because they desire that peace that you possess. This is human nature. Nobody wants to feel hurt and hate. People desire what you have and will do what it takes to find the peace you have for themselves.

Baby looking into camera playing with his toes

    I want to make this as clear as I possibly can. We all start off life with a clean soul with no hate within it. We learn hate, it is not inherited. The next time that you have the chance to look into a baby’s eyes, look and see if there is love or hate in them. Remember, the eyes are the windows to the soul. I am 100% sure that baby only has love within their eyes. Think about this my friends. Feel free to respond to this post. I look forward to talking with each and everyone of you. This being said, I want you to always Remember, we are all in this together.

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Don’t stay stagnant, learn something new

It doesn’t matter what age you are, we are still learning. If you believe that you have learned enough about anything, it’s time to start learning something new today.

Years ago I met a wise man while I was an over the road truck driver. He too was a truck driver probably three times my age at the time. I still consider this man one of the smartest people I have ever met just because of a simple request he asked of me and the explanation afterward.

There is a saying in the truck driving world that goes ‘Don’t be a lazy truck driver’. What this means is, if you are not sure while backing up, then get out and look. It’s really a good rule to follow but sometimes hard because you just want to hurry up and get loaded or unloaded so you can get going again.l

Shows back of semi trailer as it is being pulled through gate by guard shack

I was heading into a warehouse that my company had a contract with to run their freight. This particular place, had docks on one side of the building that was extremely hard to back into. I would say a silent prayer before getting there that the easy docks would be open.

This particular day, I showed up with another truck driver that had been driving over the road for thirty plus years. His CB handle was Broomstick and who I considered a true professional truck driver. Of all the truck drivers I met while I was driving trucks, his was the one name I will never forget. I myself had only been driving trucks for a couple of years and still making my fair share of mistakes.

Three semi trailers backed up to docks

When we showed up at this warehouse to get loaded, sure enough, there was only two docks open. One was on the easy side, the other on the nightmare side. I was the front truck so when we pulled up to the building I stopped in the driveway and studied the two docks. I really didn’t want to choose the hard one to get into but I didn’t want to look like a bad person to Broomstick by choosing the easy one.

My CB came to life and it was Broomstick calling. “Tailfeathers (this was my CB handle), go ahead and take the easy dock, I will take the other one.” I felt a wash of relief all over but I still asked, “are you sure?” He assured me it was fine so I headed to the easy side and backed in in a matter of seconds. After I finished backing in, I looked over to watch him on the hard side. I figured, I may learn something from watching this master get into the nightmare dock and boy did I learn something that day!

Inside of a semi cab

Broomstick turned his truck around to where he was heading in the general direction of the dock. As I expected, he got out of his truck and took a good look around. What I didn’t expect was him waving me over. I thought, great he is going to give me some pointers for next time. I got out of my truck and headed over to where he was.

“Hey, Tailfeathers, would you mind spotting me?”He asked. “Excuse me, you want me to help you?” I asked. “Of course, I’m no idiot!” He said. I was more than happy to help watch for him so he could back in easily. I asked him after I seen how easily he backed that big truck in why he asked me for help. I seen he had no problem whatsoever by himself. He told me if there is help, don’t be afraid to ask. A cocky truck driver won’t ask for help and it will catch up to them somewhere down the road.

This very wise man told me, never get so full of yourself that you can’t ask for help and never go a day of your life without learning something. He told me he had been driving this big truck for over thirty years and loves it but if the day ever comes that he feels he has learned everything about it it would be time to retire and learn something else.

I learned a lot from that man that day and I used it for the rest of my truck driving days as well as for the short time I was an instructor at a truck driving school in Tucson. Of course I taught my students these valuable lessons and I made sure to give all the credit to Broomstick.

I hope telling you about my experience has opened your eyes and will continue to help you now and in your future endeavors. Don’t forget to learn something every day. Remember, we are all in this together.