When the spotlight is on forgiveness, people tend to think that it is an act given to or received by someone else. In most cases this is true. We give grace those who we have deemed to have wronged us and we accept amnesty from the malevolence we have caused others. I have come to realize that there is not much worse than having to forgive someone who does not want to be forgiven. Like they are not apologetic for their actions and see no wrong in their behavior despite the negative impact on you. I do believe that there are two sides to every story, however, right and wrong coexist simultaneously. Forgiving is actually incredibly self-centered and egotistically-motivated. We accept apologies as a buffer to give ourselves time and space to move on from the issue, yes, forgiving the other person benefits them, but the forgiver gains more out of the deal.

One thing that is skipped over when discussing the exchange of mercy is the relation of forgiveness within ourselves. I think that we are so experienced with giving others grace and accepting amnesty that we all forget about ourselves. We recognize that other people have character flaws and disfavored niches, but we can see right past the blemishes, through the tarnishes, over the imperfections, and right to the redeeming qualities. However, when we self-reflect, we cannot always see the saving graces of ourselves. We only see the glitches and the shortcomings which overwhelm us with frustration and angst. These feelings of self-disapprovement build up over time and causes us to carry a whole lot of baggage. The ironic part is that we think that there is something external that will fix the bad days and the insufficient qualities, however, we hold the tools to restore ourselves.

The whole saying with love that "you cannot love others if you have not loved yourself" is parallel to forgiveness. You cannot forgive others if you have not forgiven yourself. So go out and forgive. Do not forgive and forget, but forgive and learn. Forgive yourself for coming up short some days and forgive the world for not always being so kind to you. Because once you commit to the power of forgiveness, you become unstoppable.