Forgiveness: the greatest gift we can give ourselves and others. Tonight, I sit with my inner little girls and my teenage part is here. She is angry, sad, hurting and feeling alone. As I visualize her and embrace her feelings, I am in awe I still have hurt feelings from the first time I fell in love.

The feelings I’m having are not a surprise though. My first love was a very sad and dramatic story. The man I fell for was actually forbidden from seeing me and then taken out of school by his parents after they found out we were still seeing each other. It was heartbreaking to say the least. Eventually, he gave into his parents and broke it off with me. I was devastated.

Anyway, as I sit here tonight listening to my inner teen’s voices and pain, I’m with her through it all and at the end of it, forgiveness is naturally there. Next, was a prayer to forgive him for hurting me knowingly or unknowingly. Also to his parents. And forgiving myself for hurting him knowingly or unknowingly and his parents. I know I don’t know the whole story and I likely never will.

All I do know is I want to let go of the pain I’m holding in my heart. The pain I’ve caused others and that others have caused me. And I know the only way to do that is to forgive. But I honestly can’t do it completely until I first deal with all the unresolved feelings and pain I’m holding onto from the past.

Until those feelings are ready to surface, I will practice with a prayer. I know I have harmed people in my life knowingly and unknowingly. I am truly sorry for the pain and harm I’ve caused. I ask for forgiveness to all those I’ve harmed. And I forgive myself for hurting myself and others knowingly and unknowingly. I forgive all those who have harmed me knowingly or unknowingly. May we all be free from suffering and be happy.

It’s a great practice to forgive. My experience is it happens in layers, as we are ready, and not in our own time frame.