Good morning. Sorry I missed last week’s LTW, I was under the weather (flu) but I’m back in action now. I went to church yesterday and my pastor, very humourously, sensitively, seriously and relevantly discussed forgiveness. A topic everyone is familiar with and everyone is great at already! (Just ask them!) This however, is something I’ve seen first-hand and through friends and loved ones that affects many people (in my case, specifically women’s relationships, friends, family or otherwise, and even their view on relationships that have yet to come to be). I was fairly enlightened to learn that forgiveness is important, not to just move on with that person or situation, but more importantly, to move on and forward with yourself. In forgiving someone who has wronged you or done wrong by you (or someone you love) you are not in fact lifting a burden off of them (maybe you are, maybe you aren’t, not the point) you are in fact lifting that burden off of yourself. You see, without forgiveness, you carry around things like hatred, anger, bitterness, lack of trust, rage, etc. in all areas of your life, even ones that had nothing to do with that person or situation. And sometimes you may really feel, and everyone you ask may really feel, like you deserve to be mad, like you have that right, and you know what? Maybe you do! But why? To what end? What will it get you? Where will it get you? How, in any way, whatsoever will it help you to be a better person, or to get what you want or where you want to be out of life? It won’t. I promise you. It will only hold you back. Unfortunately, forgiving is a really difficult thing to do. But forgiveness is not an emotion or state of being, it is a choice we choose to, or not to, make. Everyone makes mistakes, and some people shouldn’t have personal ties to you any longer based on those decisions they made. That’s fine. I’m not saying to go on a date or get all lovey-dovey with everyone that’s wronged you. But forgive them. Even if you decide your life would be better without them in it any longer. That’s fine! But make the conscious decision to just let it all go. Let the anger, resentment, bitterness etc. go. It’s difficult to do, sometimes much harder than others, but it is so important for your future. A friend of mine stated, “Hurt-people, Hurt People. Forgiven-People, Forgive People.” I think this is really true and can impact any area of your life from your family, to love, to friendships to your job, and even further. Don’t be a Hurt-Person, be someone that creates Forgiven-People. Don’t carry around the weight of misdeeds done to you. What you think “they owe you” for their wrong-doings can never really be repaid. See that. Understand it. And come to accept it. They can’t un-break your heart, they can’t force you to re-trust everything, they can’t re-instill your pride or confidence. They just can’t. So choose to forgive them from the bottom of your heart and be done with it. Every time those feelings of hate or anger or bitterness start creeping over you again, remind yourself, that they are forgiven, they owe you nothing anymore. In the beginning it will be hard, but it will get much easier over time and I promise you – you will be happier. You will feel more whole. You will love and trust more completely. You will be loved and trusted more completely. And you’ll be able to be truly happy with others and most importantly with yourself. I know it’s hard, and I know that you were wronged. And I’m sorry for that. I truly am. I’m always here to talk or if you need a shoulder to cry on. But please, for your sake and your sake alone, forgive those that transgress you. Your life will be fuller, richer and happier as a result of it. I promise you. And as always; Much Love, Smile On.