Jo Ann Rotermund, author of “The Forgiveness Habit” joined me on Transformational Tuesdays April 11. First a little bit about Jo Ann: She is an author, speaker, and forgiveness coach, and had spent her life being a victim until 2001 when her study of forgiveness helped heal her past and bring personal power, freedom, and joy into everything she does. Now retired from a 30-year career in social research. Jo Ann, who is absolutely passionate about forgiveness, has committed the rest of her life to inspiring others to make forgiveness a natural way of living, healing themselves and their world in the process. Her book, THE FORGIVENESS HABIT: an Action Plan for Healing Ourselves and Our Planet, with a foreword by Desmond Tutu, provides all you need to know to start making forgiveness a natural part of your life. Jo Ann practices what she preaches; she just celebrated 50 years of marriage and credits forgiveness for the happiness she and her husband share.
Forgiveness is something you do for yourself and is the greatest healing act of the heart. Most people struggle with forgiveness because of 3 destructive habits:
- Blaming others or ourselves
- The need to be right
- Negative judging
Jo Ann says … just look at the word WAR as an acronym for We Are Right and you can see that there is no greater destructive force than the need to be right. Judging others actually points to something incomplete within ourselves which continually reminds you that you are the ultimate victim. Unforgiveness or resentment only adds to that. We must learn to see with the eyes of God … the eyes of the heart … not the eyes of the head.
Forgiveness habits are:
- Gratitude … this is one of the most powerfully positive habits to create and use consistently. Create a daily list of things/people you feel gratitude for. Let the list grow.
- Oneness … We are all from the same source. “We are here to move away from the illusion that we are separate.” Thich Nhat Hanh
- Reverence for all.
- Tell new stories. Give up the victimhood and tell stories of Joy.
I really enjoyed this hour with Jo Ann learning more about forgiveness. So many of us, especially women are so unforgiving of ourselves and others, and we stay stuck in the pain that goes along with it. If you are one of those people I invite you to start with Gratitude … find just one thing you are grateful for, then list two and then three … if you need some help, go to Grateful Hearts on Facebook where you can find some gratitude posts of others. Occasionally, I play the gratitude A-Z came on that page. I’ll make more of an effort to keep up with that page, just know this … even if I’m not posting it on that page, I am making a gratitude list daily in my journal.
Try practicing Ho’Oponopono.
Step 1: Repentance … “I’m Sorry”
Step 2: Forgiveness … “Please Forgive Me”
Step 3: Gratitude …”Thank You”
Step 4: Love …”I Love You”
If you say these words with the respective feeling in your heart, you will begin to heal.
Forgiveness, especially if we have held onto things for a long time, requires concentrated effort. Like many things, its a process, be kind to yourself.