Congratulations. In opening this book, you have made a wise decision and opened the door to a much happier life.
You are about to get in touch with the life-changing force of forgiveness – the mindful, deliberate act of releasing your feelings of resentment or vengeance towards others, irrespective of whether they actually deserve your clemency.
You do not have to condone appalling behaviours to forgive. Forgiveness joyously obliterates bitterness, anger, hatred and frustration and enables positive and life-affirming gifts to grow in their place.
Equally important, it is time to forgive yourself, something many people desperately need. The inability to forgive oneself is at the root of depression for many people.
This book centres around my 15-minute rule.
In a nutshell, the 15-minute rule is a way to break down work into manageable intervals, separated by short breaks. It also shows you how new and constructive ways of thinking will make such a fabulous difference to your life. In working my tried and tested 15-minute rule, you will overcome a big problem far sooner than you might think possible.
So, what might ‘forgiveness’ mean for you?
Sit back, close your eyes, and paint a picture of just how wonderful it would be if you could drop that huge weight from your shoulders; that painful load that you have been carrying around for a long time. For those of you who feel an instant sense of peace at the very thought of being free from it all, then just imagine how your life would change if you could really and truly forgive or feel forgiven.
Strangely enough, many people are not even aware that it is the forgiveness issue (or more accurately ‘unforgiveness’) that is causing them to be unhappy, depressed, or desperately stuck in an unhealthy groove.
You may well know exactly what you’re struggling with here, and are longing to be free of it; or perhaps thoughts are just beginning to filter through about your need to resolve some very unhelpful thinking styles.
The ability to forgive and accept forgiveness is a very powerful enabler. And for those who master it, the rewards are literally glorious.
Personally, I always thought I was pretty good at forgiving others, but I have been appalling at forgiving myself. Whether it’s failing to forgive someone else you struggle with, or truly forgiving yourself, you are living your life in a way that is severely hampered. And it’s not necessary. You are worth so much more than that.
There are all kinds of emotions tied up with unforgiveness. Fear, anger, control, criticism, resentment, jealousy and envy to name but a few. The roots of this problem so often lie in childhood – the powerless child, the overly responsible child, the abandoned, abused or betrayed child – and because these feelings are so ingrained, they cannot be turned around without understanding or believing in something bigger than you. (This bigger something can be any number of things; more later.) Read on, because I can promise you a much better life.
There is no problem, there is only a solution.
When I got in touch with the power of forgiveness, my life was transformed. In fact, if you talk to anyone who has experienced it, life suddenly makes sense in a way it never did before. You feel more loving and giving than ever before (even if you were loving and giving in the first place, which of course you were!), and you also know how to look after yourself, perhaps for the first time in your adult life.
Over the course of this book, I will urge you to look deep inside and ask yourself how long this has been going on for you, and whether you’ve been consciously aware of it or not. If we are not facing our problems, we are depriving ourselves, our loved ones, and the world!
By justifying our actions, thoughts, and feelings, we are denying so much of our true selves. How many relationships have you lost through a lack of forgiveness? On their part, your part, or both? Even if you never want to see the people again, they are still with you, living rent-free in your head!
Remember that to forgive does not mean to condone something. It does not mean you think the behaviour was acceptable. It is saying you don’t want it to hurt you anymore.
Sadly, there are many lives blighted by grudges and resentments that can persist forever. How many people do you know who are caught in a cycle of blame? There are those who have genuine grievances – some quite horrific – and others who are incapable of taking responsibility; blaming others and life in general for their perceived woes and/or lack of success.
I’m sure you tell yourself from time to time that you have to find a way forward on the forgiveness issue but – odds on – procrastination is getting in the way. It’s so easy to put stuff off, especially when it’s painful. But every time you do that, you are adding weight to the problem. It’s the snowball effect. Perhaps it feels just too big to make a start? But do you want to stay stuck in the problem, or do you want to live in the solution? It’s a no-brainer really. Commit to the techniques in this book, and I will hold your hand and guide you all the way to forgiveness.
You are not alone.
With my tried, tested, and much-loved 15-Minute Rule, I can show you how to come out from the darkness and into the light. The sunny uplands are waiting for you. You really can live your life to the full, and rejoice in finding and knowing your purpose.
If you make a commitment to do it, I will guarantee you positive results.
‘It works, if you work it’ as they say in 12-step programmes!
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