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The wisdom I’ve learned is how to release the emotional pain of the past. During my time on Earth I’ve spent many years realizing that forgiveness is a lifelong process. It isn’t something that can happen overnight; it starts with small steps and can take a lot of time and effort to release these destructive emotions. Placing blame on others and focusing on negativity only harms you, not anyone else. An important step on the path to forgiveness is looking within to pardon yourself before you can release someone else of blame and move forward positively.

Remember, you don’t have to forget to forgive. Forgiveness does not require that we forget the trauma inflicted on us by individuals, or that we involve them in our future as we live our lives. Wonderfully, the gift of absolute and total forgiveness releases from us all emotional suffering and internal trauma.

For me, forgiveness did not become a serious issue until I left the life I had been living up until then—a nun in a protective religious community. That all changed upon my return home to a family I had thought would love and accept me. In a short time, they disowned me for reasons too troubling to put down in print. I became an orphan—for years shunned from all family gatherings.

You are strong enough to overcome anything that’s happened to you; we only harm ourselves by refusing to let go of the past. If we make no effort to embrace forgiveness, then the destructive emotions that follow: anger, bitterness, resentment and their negative companions, will make us miserable, which has drastic impacts on our physical and mental health.

You are in control of your own happiness. The process of forgiveness has taught me that with God’s grace and our sincere effort, we have what it takes to experience a happy, fulfilling and successful life.

Self-love is the most crucial love of all; forgiveness allows us to break free from negative and restricting thoughts. The most powerful force in life is the embracing of love that resides within our hearts and minds and extends to our world family. Forgiveness will forever be the greatest teacher in our lives. Forgiveness brings us the insight that it is futile to take life issues too personally, that doing so destroys our happiness and peace of mind.

I have come to understand that our continual effort to forgive is the dynamic that powerfully liberates us, such that we might live in a state of love and forgiveness.

You have the power to forgive, deep inside you. As a writer, I strive to offer hope, through practical and spiritual ways, to make one’s life journey easier and more fulfilling. We have only one life to live and we are asked to make it our best.

This is something we can do. Absolutely.

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Elizabeth Upton is the acclaimed author of titles such as, “Secrets of a Nun: My Own Story,” “The Shaman and The Mafia,” and “Exuberant Women Don’t Age – No Time to Waste.”

Prior to publishing her first book, Upton was a nun for more than 20 years. She also worked as a family counselor, social worker and probation officer for troubled youth. She is a graduate of Syracuse University and earned her M.A. in psychology from Chapman University. Elizabeth and her husband live in Santa Barbara on the beautiful California coast.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Hi Elizabeth, I really appreciate your post today. I come from a difficult family situation as well, which I have moved on from. Nonetheless, I find that from time to time, the issues continue to play out in my current relationships – as you said, it can take a lifetime! Your post was the reminder I needed today to not take it personally. I agree wholeheartedly about the absolute importance of self-love, I’ve even written a book called “Imagine Self-Love” and lead a FB group, “Leaders in Self-Love.” So, I get it, and yet I’m still learning it as well! So nice to meet you and to hear a bit about your fascinating life story. Blessings, Reba

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