One week into the new year and 2018 is already showing me amazing opportunities, as long as I find the courage to leap. When we think of the word “opportunity”, typically something major pops into our head like a new career or education opportunity. However, an opportunity doesn’t have to be major to leave a big impact on our lives.

I learned a really important lesson that has changed my life in a subtle, but significant way. That lesson is the power of forgiveness. You see, we always have the opportunity to forgive; every time someone wrongs us in any minor or major way we have the opportunity to forgive. In fact, this morning when I was on my way to work at the dark early hour of 6am, a snowplow driver pulled out of a parking lot right as I was about to pass and as we both slammed on the breaks, the bucket in the front of his truck proceeded to bump the side of my car ever-so-slightly. Miraculously, he didn’t even leave a scratch on my car. He was very apologetic and said he didn’t see me. Instead of letting my anxiety and anger consume me, I made sure he was okay and alert enough to drive, told him not to worry about it, and wish him a great day. We were both on our way and as I continued my drive into work, I offered up a silent prayer of gratitude to the universe that no one was hurt and that there was no damage to either vehicle.

Even though no one was injured and no damage was done, it would have been easy to let that start to the day ruin my entire morning. But why should it? Even if he completely destroyed the passenger side of my car. Why let that ruin my day? Why hold a grudge when I have no control over something like that? When you hold a grudge or harbor any negative feelings in your heart for someone, the person you are hurting most is yourself.

Now that was a minor example, especially considering no harm was done. I understand that there are much more severe circumstances where forgiveness is not even remotely as easy. I came across a post that a dear friend of mine wrote on Facebook the other day, and it really spoke to my heart. Ultimately it’s what inspired me to make this week’s blog post about forgiveness and I hope that after you read it, you will have a different perspective on forgiveness. The post was as follows:

“ I forgive you. You never apologized and never asked to be forgiven. In fact, you chose to hurt me on purpose and said you would not be sorry. Yet, I forgive you.

I forgive you for me, so I move on without holding onto a grudge that causes me pain.

I forgive you because I know that hurt people are the ones who hurt people. You cannot bear your own pain and so you pass it on to others.

I forgive you, and I pray now that the weight on my shoulders, on my heart, will be lifted.

I forgive you, instead of burying the pain and hoping it will go away by itself.

I forgive you; I have no idea what that will do to our future, and I am alright with that.

I forgive you, not to forget, but simply to forgive, because Love forgives, and Love heals, and Love is the most powerful force that exists.

I trust Love.” (-Aimee Peters)

Isn’t that beautiful? I must have read her post at least five times. I really feel that those words reveal the most important things about forgiveness. One being that often the people doing the hurting have been terribly hurt, themselves. Unfortunately hate is a hard cycle to break. It’s like a disease that moves from one person to the next through small and large acts. Fortunately, love is also contagious, and I believe that it is far more powerful than hate.

So as we continue into the new year, let’s take the opportunity to forgive those who have wronged us in the past. Let’s make the decision to end the cycle of hate by letting go of those grudges we’ve been holding. Those grudges do more damage to ourselves. Let’s choose love. If not for those that we are forgiving, let’s choose to forgive out of love for ourselves. I pray that 2018 brings you a happier, healthier heart. I pray that you find the courage to take the opportunity to forgive and choose love over hate, now and forever.

Peace and Love my dear friends,

Jessica Danae.