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Episode 113: Forgiving Others

Jul 01, 2021
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April Price Coaching
Episode 113: Forgiving Others

Episode Summary

Even when we want to forgive, it can feel difficult to do. But the way we think about forgiveness can make it even more difficult because it can be hard to let go of negative feelings when we think someone else created them.

But no one can create any feeling for us. Our pain is always created by our own thoughts. And when we really understand this, we can see that the key to forgiving others is not changing others but changing the way we think about what they have done.

In today’s episode, I’m helping you think about forgiveness in a whole new way, so that you can see your power to forgive, why forgiveness is truly something we do for ourselves, and how no matter what someone else does you are always the solution to your pain.

Episode Transcript

Welcome to the 100% Awesome Podcast with April Price, you might not know it, but every result in your life is 100% because of the thought you think. And that, my friends, is 100% awesome!

Hello, podcast universe! Welcome to Episode 113 of the 100% Awesome Podcast, I'm April Price and I want to welcome you to the podcast today for our continuing discussion on repentance and forgiveness. Today's episode in many ways is really just a continuation of last week's episode. And so actually, if you haven't listened to last week's yet, I really recommend that you go back and listen to it, and kind of get, because I'm going to be talking about a lot of similar principles, foundational principles that I introduced last week.

So, that might be really helpful to you as we continue this discussion now, and move towards forgiving others, and use a lot of these same principles and thoughts that we talked about in that episode to our relationships and the reconciliation that we want to make with others. But before we get into that today, I
just wanted to let you know that I am starting my next group coaching program the first week in August, and it is already filling up. And in order to accommodate more of you this time, I'm going to be offering two sessions, a day group where we do coaching during the day, and then an early evening group.

So, if you have been thinking about coaching, about changing your life, or changing how you feel about yourself, and your life, there is a spot for you in one of these groups. And I think having two groups with two different days, and times should accommodate more of your schedules so that you can be coached. A lot of you might be wondering if coaching is right for you, and if you really need a coach? And all I can tell you is that from my experience, I just enjoy living my life so much better. It's not that coaching takes away all my problems, that coaching takes away negative emotion out of my life. It's just that in so many ways, coaching has allowed me to align my life with the way I've always wanted to live it. Like I had such deep desires to live my life in a certain way, and I just could never figure out how to do it. And coaching just allowed me to, like, show up in the way I wanted to, and where and when I see I'm not, I know exactly what I need to do. I need to look at what I'm thinking in that area. And that just makes me so powerful in my own life-coaching. It just allowed me to create so many results that I always wanted to have.

And I feel so lucky to be living my life the way I am. And coaching made all of that possible for me. Like I learned how to love, I learned how to be brave, I learned how to use the gifts that God gave me. I learned how to create what I wanted. And it was so different than anything I had ever done because I
wasn't just changing the action line, I wasn't doing things temporarily. I was going to the source and it felt so different, right? Like I learned to create the life I wanted by really understanding my own brain, and the real barrier between, like what I wanted, the eternal me wanted, and what my human body, my human brain wanted. And just learning that I could change anything, which was miraculous to me, I could change anything I wanted as long as I could change my thoughts. That allowed me to solve any problem in my life, which I think is amazing. I think everybody should know how to do that, I think everybody should have a coach. I think everybody should know the truth about their agency, and how they really can change their lives by changing what they choose to think. And changing what we think, right? Changing our mind, this is the heart of coaching, changing our mind about us, changing your mind about what we have done, changing our mind about what other people have done. This is the heart of coaching because our mind, the decisions we make there, are creating our life as we know it. And this leads us right into what I want to talk to you about today as we talk about forgiveness, because forgiveness, like repentance, is all about changing our mind, thinking new thoughts.

Last week, as you know, we talked about how repentance is changing our mind now, and how when we change our mind, that automatically changes our actions, and we get to show up differently in our life. This week, I want to show you how changing your mind can allow you to forgive, and show up differently in your relationships with other people. And I want to offer you today a different way to think about forgiveness that can make it easier to forgive and reconcile with the people in your life that you think have hurt you. Okay, so first of all, I want you to think about forgiveness itself. Like notice if you are thinking about forgiving someone, it is because you currently are probably having a negative feeling in your life that you believe they caused, right? Maybe you feel angry, maybe you feel sad, or rejected, or betrayed, or hurt in some way because of what they have done, because something they said, something they did, maybe something they didn't do, right? We think those actions caused those bad feelings. This is how our brain sees it, they did something wrong that made us feel bad, and that's how we see forgiveness, right?

We're in essence saying, okay, you created pain for me, and now I'm trying to find a way to be okay about that, and to stop being upset with you for creating my pain. But seeing forgiveness this way is flawed, of course, because it removes your responsibility, and your agency from the experience of your negative emotion. Like we know that no one can create a feeling inside of us no matter what, right? No matter what they do, no matter what they say, feelings are only ever created by our thoughts. When you understand, okay that's how feelings are created, then it automatically follows that no one can cause your pain, no one can cause you to feel anything, right? The things that other people say, or do don't make you feel sad, or rejected, or hurt, or anything else. Like we have to choose the thought first, and our thinking then creates that negative emotion. Our thoughts are what is creating all of our feelings. And it's only ever our thoughts about what other people have done that creates our feelings.

And so, I want you to see that, like, if they don't create your feelings, they can't cause your feelings, then in actuality there is nothing to forgive them for. When we say how do I forgive someone, we're basically saying, how do I forgive them for creating negative emotion inside of me? But obviously that's impossible, and it's the wrong question, because they can't create negative emotion inside of you. Asking how can I forgive someone, assumes an incorrect premise, the premise that they caused your negative emotion. And when you see the truth of that, you can see that like all along we've been trying to forgive someone else for our choice. We've been trying to forgive them for us, choosing to think a thought, which is kind of mind blowing, right? And if that's the case, if in every situation my own thoughts are creating my negative feelings, then the real question is how do I change my thought about what they did? How do I change my mind about their actions so that I can feel better, right? Because other people can't create my feelings, and only my thoughts create my feelings, the solution then is always to change my mind, to change my thought about what they did, and why it's a problem for me.

And really, when you see the truth of this, that no matter what your own choices are, the source of your pain then you can see how forgiveness is always something we do for ourselves. It is never for someone else. It isn't for the person who did the quote unquote hurting, right? It is never for the person who took the action that we had a thought about, it is for you. Your current thoughts are creating your pain. And so, changing those thoughts will alleviate your pain.

Forgiveness is something we do for ourselves. It is always for you. You can feel better, you can stop hurting yourself. Forgiveness is what we do for us, so that we can feel the way we want to, so that we can feel peace, and reconciliation, connection, all the things we want. And I think this is such a powerful reframe of forgiveness because it takes the other person completely out of the picture, and it becomes all about your agency, right? Sometimes we don't want to forgive because we think it will let the other person off the hook, that they need to pay for what they have done in some way, right? And and forgiving them is going to interfere with that punishment somehow. And when we can see that we are only actually punishing ourselves, we are the only ones on the hook here, and we're continuing to pay for the thoughts we have chosen by feeling bad. Then, we can get some traction and forgiveness becomes easier. I think it allows you to move toward forgiveness so much faster, because it is no longer about what the other person did, or about keeping them accountable. It is only about alleviating the pain we are in by changing our thought. And not only that, but to be able to forgive, and feel better, we don't need anyone else to change first. We don't need them to be sorry, we don't need them to do anything. It is up to us. And that makes you powerful in your own life, in your own ability to feel how you want, regardless of what other people do.

So, I want to talk about how we do this, how we change our thoughts about what someone else has done, but first, I just want to go back to the idea that I introduced last week, the idea that like everything we do, everything anybody does is a result of what we're thinking, right? Whatever that other person said, or did, it occurred as a natural result of what they were thinking in that moment. And other people's brains work the same way yours does, right? With survival as the only priority, their brain somewhere along the line offered them a fearful, shameful, protective thought. And it works just like yours, right? And whatever they did, it was about what they were thinking. It was about what their brain offered them in that moment, what they decided to believe, which created a feeling, and they took action.

Now our brain wants to make it about us, right? It wants to see that they shouldn't treat us that way, like in an effort to protect ourselves from rejection or pain. Ironically, right now, our brain interprets what they did in a way that creates rejection, and pain. Like our brain wants to make what they did means something dangerous about us, but is only ever our interpretation that is dangerous. It is only ever our interpretation that can cause us pain. And just like I talked about last week, that sometimes we take action that we don't like, that we make mistakes, and we do it wrong, and that's not wrong. It is the same for other people. It's not wrong that they do it wrong, and it's not even a problem for us that they do it wrong, unless we make, they're doing it wrong, mean painful things for us. And I'm not saying that everything people do is ideal, right? But I'm saying the fact that they do it wrong isn't wrong. It's all a result of what they have chosen to think. And they, like you, are allowed to think whatever they want. They get to choose. They get to choose their thoughts. That is not about us. Their actions are going to flow from that choice. We have to stop making it mean things, painful things about us or for us. What other people do is never a problem for you, until you have a thought that they shouldn't have done it that way.

So, one time my son came to me, and he told me something that he had done that he didn't like, he wasn't proud of. He felt like he had made this huge mistake and he had let himself down. But mostly he felt like he had let us down. And he asked me, will you forgive me? Now, there was a time in my life, honestly, when I would have been upset about what he was telling me, I would have been disappointed about the action he had taken, and that he hadn't done it right, right? And I would have made it mean that, like, he wasn't obedient, and I should be worried, or I would have made I mean, like I was a bad mother and I had failed him. There was a time where I would have been scared that forgiving him, like, easily, right? Would make him think, well, he can do whatever he wants without consequence. And like, who knows what that would lead to, right? But when he came to me, and I understood about like our actions are flowing from our thoughts, and his actions don't mean anything about me, or even about him, right? That it was just a choice he made in that moment. I knew there was nothing to forgive, because whatever he did was right, in that he chose to think a thought, which created a feeling, and then he did what he did.

But it's not wrong that he did it wrong. It's not wrong that he did it in a way that he didn't approve of, or that I didn't approve of. He can always choose something else. And in this case, he wanted to. But I don't have to argue with my brain by saying he shouldn't have done what he did. Of course he should have, it was a natural result of what he thought. And that is true of everyone in your life. You can stop arguing with their choices, right? They have chosen a thought is created that action. It is not about you.

First, their behavior isn't creating your feeling, really good news, because then you have some control of how you feel. And second, of course, they should do whatever they did. It was the natural result of choosing the thought they chose, and they get to choose what they think. That will create their feelings, and drive their actions, and they get to choose all of that. But so do you. You get to choose. You get to choose what you make it mean. You get to decide what you make it mean, because that is what is creating your feelings. And if you want to feel better about it, you have the choice. This is all about you, your agency, your choice. Your brain wants to make it about them, and about what they did, and what they should or shouldn't do. But it isn't about them. It's about your choice of what you want to think about what they have done, right? The choice of the meaning you give that, and getting good at that choice is one of the main reasons we are here on Earth.

We're here together, people are going to act, and then we get to choose. And really, I think this brings us back to the idea of Husa that I introduced to you last week. Remember that Husa, is the way God loves us in our mess, in our imperfection. Do you remember what Naomi Levy said? She said, "Husa, not only realigns our relationship with God, the main power of Husa is that it transforms the way we treat ourselves, and how we treat others." Why is that? Because when we realize that we are flawed and it's not a problem, then we can extend that same understanding to other people. They are flawed and it's not a problem. They do it wrong, and that's not wrong, right? It's like Elizabeth Gilbert says, like, I am going to stand with you in our shared humanity, in the shared dilemma of how impossible it is to be a human being, and recognize from one demented, battered, confused soul to another that it's hard for all of us here. I love that, and truthfully, when people act in a way that we don't like, or we think is wrong, it's only truly uncomfortable for us because we don't like who we become when they act in that way.

We don't like the choice we are making in our own heads, because in that moment, we are choosing to think about them in a way that creates pain for us. And this is out of alignment with love, right? With who we really want to be. All right, so, for example, like if David comes home from work, and he spends the night on his phone, and I decide to make those actions wrong, and mean things that, like, he doesn't care about me. As I make that choice, I step out of love. I stop loving, and I choose judgment. Instead, I stop loving and I choose hurt. I choose offense. And this isn't who I want to be. And in that moment, when I make that choice, I am out of integrity with who I want to be. I don't like me. I don't like being with me. And that is the only problem with what David has done. As Naomi Levy said, "Husa gives us permission to look at ourselves without cringing, and without hate, so that we can actually see what's there, what needs fixing, right? So that you can face what you resist."

If I can embrace that, every person is allowed to choose their thoughts and this is going to create feelings and actions, then I can see that the work is always with me and my choice, right? They are revealing to me the work that needs to happen inside of me so that like the work I need to do to continue to choose love, right? Am I choosing love with them even now? And when I don't, then with Husa, I can look at myself without cringing, and without hate, so that I can see what's actually there, where I am lacking in my skill to love, where I am not loving, what needs fixing in my own choice. This is so powerful, it means looking at my thoughts about what they did, where I stepped out of love, and seeing the choice for what it is, and asking myself without judgment if I want to choose something else? If I want to feel something else? Reconciliation with others and with God begins with reconciliation with ourselves and our choices, right? Reconciliation again about what we have chosen to think.

Okay, so let me just give you a few tips and things to think about, ways to change our mind about the things that they have done. So, really, the first step to changing our mind, and changing our thoughts about what they have done is to recognize that your current thoughts are the thing creating your pain. We have to know that first we can't feel better if we don't know what is really actually making us feel bad. And it is never what they have done. It is always the way we have thought about what they have done, right? And in fact, when it's difficult to forgive them, it's hard to give up those negative feelings. It's because we don't really see, or believe that we have created our pain, right? We don't see that our interpretation of someone else's actions are the thing creating those negative feelings. And we're still really just blaming them for our negative emotion, and that's why it's hard to let go of them.

So, I want you to, like, try a little experiment with me. And I want you to think about something that someone has done that made you mad, hurt your feelings, you know, something that made you feel betrayed, or or sad, something someone said, or did that created a negative emotion inside of you. Okay, you have that in your mind. Now, notice how remembering that and thinking about that, and putting your mind on that thing creates the emotion inside of you. You can feel that emotion inside of you. Okay, now I want you to think about what you have to do today. Like, what do you have to do before the end of the day, before the day's over that you need to accomplish or like, what are you going to be doing tomorrow at 10 a.m.? Think about what you're going to be doing tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m, right? Notice that as your thoughts changes, so does the emotion, right? The pain or the negative emotion that we felt about what someone has done changed, because we thought about something else, right?

The how we feel about what someone has done doesn't exist independent of our thoughts about it. It isn't constantly there. It doesn't exist as an entity independent of our thoughts, like over like like something that exists like in real life outside of our interpretation, it only exists. Our pain only exists when we have a thought about it. And that doesn't mean that the pain isn't real, and that it's all made up. Of course, it's real. It just means that it was created by us, and not what they did, it was not created by the act itself, it was created by our interpretation of it, it was created by us. Someone's actions in, and of themselves can't create pain. We have to make sense of what they did, we have to make sense of their actions. We have to tell a story about it. We have to have thoughts about it in our head, and that's what creates the emotion in our body. We don't have emotion without thoughts about it.

Now, recognizing that your thought creates your pain doesn't make you wrong. In fact, if you can recognize that your thought creates your pain, it makes you powerful. Because once we can see that it's our choice, and not theirs, creating our pain, forgiveness then is simply a matter of changing our thoughts about them, and what they have done to feel better. We need to change our mind. We need to think differently about the past, about what they've done, and it's not complicated. It doesn't require anything from anyone else, it's just a matter of changing our mind, which is pretty simple, even if it's not easy.

So, next step is just like repentance. To change those thoughts that are creating our pain, we have to find out what those thoughts are. We have to find out what our current thoughts are so that then we can think something else. We can't think differently if we don't know the thoughts that are creating the pain. Next step, is without shame, but with compassionate curiosity. With Husa, look at your thoughts, how has your brain interpreted what they have done? What is the story your brain is telling you? What is your brain like making what they did mean? That story is the thing causing our pain, we need to know what that is, okay? When it comes down to it, it's all stories about them, about us, about the way it should have gone, about what they shouldn't have done, it's all made up, right? And all these stories are optional.

Our brain is making it up. Our brain is deciding what is good, and bad, what hurts, and what doesn't. And if you want to liberate yourself from the suffering, you have to tell a different story. The truth is you get to think about other people's actions any way you want. We don't realize that labeling what they did as bad, or painful is optional. It's just our choice there in that moment. We can argue all day long that they shouldn't have done what they did, but it is done. And now the way we are thinking about it is painful, and it is optional. And you're allowed to keep thinking it, you really are. But you need to know that continuing to think it doesn't change the past. It is not changing what has happened, it is not changing what they did. It is not making them feel bad, or feel anything. All it is doing is causing you suffering.

So, what do you think about what you did? I think it can be really helpful to write it all down, to put it on paper, like we want to stop telling the story about, like what they did and what they shouldn't have done in our head, right? It just keeps generating emotion when it's up in our head, you want to get it on paper. Your pain is caused by all these sentences in your head and you want to write all those sentences down so that you can look at them. And then, like I said, without shame, we just want to take responsibility for the way we are feeling. We want to connect those sentences on the page with the emotions that we are feeling, and show ourselves gently that this is just a choice.

So, sometimes I like to look at the sentences, and I try adding a phrase to the beginning and end so that it looks like this, right? I like to say, like when I think, and I read one of the sentences, I feel blank, okay? When I choose to think, I read the sentence, then I feel this. You want to like, look at what you think, and show yourselves that when you choose to think about it this way, it's creating an emotion for yourself, right? You're showing yourself in those moments your own agency, okay? And that showing yourself that, and taking responsibility for, like this choice creates that feeling will help you start to shift some things. All that has happened is our brain has offered us a thought about something someone did, and we chose to keep thinking that thought. That's creating our negative emotion. The more aware we can be that this choice created the emotion we're feeling, then the more power we have to change it.

Finally, I think it can be really helpful to ask yourself, am I willing to make a different choice? Am I willing to change my thoughts about this in order to feel better, in order to feel how I really want to feel?
And if not, if I'm not really willing to make that choice? Why not? Why aren't we willing to choose something else so that we can feel better? And often it will be because we don't think it's fair, right? We don't think it's fair to like, re-tell the story and like make them right. We don't have to make them right. We just have to stop creating our own suffering, right? What's not fair is that we are hurting us. That's what's not fair. You just have to keep showing yourself that, right?

As Louie Smead says, like to forgive is to set a prisoner free, only to discover that the prisoner was you, right? Forgiveness is your job, it's your job because you are the author of your pain, and the way to forgive is to keep showing yourself that your choice is what matters here. Sometimes it's not easy to change these thoughts, our brain has thought some of these thoughts a lot. It has a lot of practice making this choice, and we're just going to slowly start to wiggle it loose, loosen it up, show ourselves that we are creating our pain so that we can make a different choice. Forgiveness is always your job. If you want to feel better, forgiveness is your job because you are actually the author of your pain. The way to forgive is to keep showing yourself that it is your choice here that matters. Your agency in choosing what you want to think about what other people have done like is the only thing that matters, and it is the way to peace and love and reconciliation. And no matter what anybody else does, you have access to that any time you want, any time you are willing to choose to think something else. And that, my friends, is 100% awesome! I love you for listening and I'll see you next week!

The next round of my group coaching program made four more starts soon, and I think you should be a part of it. Your brain was program for survival, but you were made for more than that. You were made for more love and more accomplishment and more joy right now. And I can show you the simple way to get all of that. Join me in Made for More where we will spend the next six-months coaching and reprogramming your brain so that you can get the most out of this life. And the next go to to sign up for a free coaching consultation and see how changing your thoughts can change everything else!

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