Healing is a process and for most of us it takes a while before we really get a grip on how to navigate through it successfully. The need for healing comes from a place where there has usually been an offense causing an open wound. Depending on how deep the wound is will play a factor in the healing time frame. The deeper the wound the longer it will take to heal. Secondly, we must identify where the hurt came from — is it internal or external? When it is internal (something that we caused) we have more control of the process. When it is external there are others involved in the process. Once we are clear about what we are dealing with and all of the parties involved, we can begin the path to recovery or healing.
America has gone through quite a bit over the past year. We are all living with the reality of the COVID-19 global pandemic. The fallout from this pandemic has caused social, economic, and emotional turmoil. It will be years before we fully recover. We have also experienced the civil unrest where people are fed up with racial injustices in our country. Race relations, in some ways, have reached an all-time low and morale is suffering. The current administration, under the leadership of Trump, has not done a good job to improve these problems. John Lewis taught us that it is time for us to lay down the heavy burden of hate. When we learn how to extend forgiveness and kindness towards others it allows us to live a life full of favor. Joe Biden said, hate never goes away; it just hides until it is given oxygen and opportunity. Where there is lack of leadership chaos will abound. All of these situations have brought us to a place where we need forgiveness if we want to experience real healing. The soul of America is in danger, but I believe there is hope and the process begins with each of us.
For over two decades I have spoken about the power of forgiveness and how it has the capability to heal us. My experiences have taught me that forgiveness is a choice that contributes to the process of healing and it can become a lifestyle that we pass onto others. As I shared in my opening paragraph, one thing that is critical for any path to healing is to understand the root of where it came from. As we enter the holidays and begin to close out this tumultuous year, many of us are tired, weary, and filled with emotions we do not know how to explain. There is a feeling of melancholy that resides in some of our hearts. This feeling can cause angst that leads to anger and bitterness that becomes a vicious cycle. It is important to get a handle on negative emotions before they overtake us. This feeling may be the basis that needs forgiveness and healing. The holidays are a perfect time to begin the process of letting go of the past for a better future.
Nelson Mandela said, “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” The same can be said about unforgiveness. When we refuse to forgive others, in the end we are just hurting ourselves. When we refuse to forgive ourselves, we only hurt ourselves even more. When I coach people, I am often asked, “How do I even start the process?” It is easy; just begin. Or as Nike would say, Just do it! It is a choice that each of us can make every day and if necessary, repeat again and again for as long as it takes. If we want to experience a personal healing or healing for our nation, we must believe it is possible. We must look towards the better good. We may lose a few battles, but if we remember it is a process, then it is okay if we do not get everything immediately. Just keep your eye on the ball. Healing can be achieved.