Millions of readers turn to Marc and Angel Chernoff for fresh and relevant insights for living their best lives. In their newest guide, they share hard-won secrets for strengthening our connection to the loved ones who matter most. With their signature combination of common sense and uncommon wisdom, they bring together ideas for fostering intimacy and trust, expressing our needs, showing gratitude, and more. Topics include:
An inspiring touchstone to read with a partner, with a friend, or solo, this simple yet powerful book offers an instant insight for anyone seeking to better understand and nurture the bonds that bring us together and make our lives whole.
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|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
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Read an Excerpt
SHOULD I FORGIVE HIM? SHOULD I FORGIVE HER?
Sometimes the problems we have with others— our spouse, parents, siblings, and so on— don’t really have much to do with them at all, because these problems are actually about us.
And that’s okay. It simply means these little predicaments will be easier to solve. We are, after all, in charge of our own decisions. We get to decide whether we want to keep our head cluttered with events from the past, or whether instead we open our minds to the positive realities unfolding in front of us.
All we need is the willingness to look at things a little differently— letting go of “what happened” and “what should never have been,” and instead focusing our energy on “what is” and “what could be possible.”
Because, as our friend discovered that morning, sometimes the only problem standing in our way is the one we created in our head.
Does Anything Really Need to Be Forgiven Here?
That’s a question we challenge you to ask yourself first, whenever you feel like our friend felt when she arrived at our doorstep. It’s a simple question that can provide a necessary dose of perspective when your emotions are surging. And it’s a practice we often discuss with our course students and live- event attendees when forgiveness is at stake in their personal relationships.
The bottom line is that letting go of the need to process every little misstep and mistake a person makes can be mentally and emotionally freeing for everyone involved. Make that decision, and feel the freedom.
Truly, there is an obvious shift in our hearts and minds that happens when we go from feeling hurt and upset to feeling peaceful and loving, but it’s not necessarily forgiveness that’s taking place— t’s just the realization that there was nothing to forgive in the first place. Because mistakes are the growing pains of wisdom, and sometimes they just need to be accepted with no strings attached.
To help you wrap your head around this concept, try to look at your situation from a distance. Imagine a more seasoned, wiser, and more compassionate version of yourself sitting at the mountaintop of life, looking down and watching as the younger- minded, present version of you stumbles your way through life.
You see yourself holding on to false beliefs and making obvious errors of judgment as you maneuver through life’s many obstacles. You watch the children of the world growing up in challenging times that test their sense of self- confidence, yet they push forward bravely. You see the coming generation radiating with passion and love as they fail forward, learning through their mistakes.
And you have to wonder: Would this wiser version of yourself conclude that almost everyone in their own unique way was doing their best, or at least trying to? And if everyone is trying to do their best, what really needs to be forgiven? Not being perfect?
Obviously, there is not a one- size- fits- all answer to anything in life, and forgiveness is no exception. Some situations are far more complicated than others. But in any case, let’s do our best to challenge our minds with a necessary dose of perspective whenever our emotions are surging. Let’s learn from our mistakes, and let others learn from theirs. Let’s embrace our imperfections, and let others embrace theirs . . .
And let’s begin again, together, with a little more acceptance, compassion, and peace of mind.
Ultimately, forgiveness is recognizing the reality that what has happened has already happened, and that there’s no point in allowing it to dominate the rest of your life. Forgiveness refreshingly cleans the slate and enables you to step forward. Here are two unique ways to make this step possible:
1. Be the watcher of your thoughts and emotions.
In his bestselling book The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle tells us to be the watcher of our thoughts. What he suggests is that instead of trying to change our thoughts— via gratitude or deliberate forgiveness, for example— we need to simply notice our thoughts without getting caught up in them.
You are ultimately the sole creator of your own feelings. When negative thoughts arise based on past experiences or future worries, as they sometimes will, realize that these are simply issues your mind (not you) is working through. Pause, be present, and pay close attention. Think about these thoughts and emotions consciously, almost as if you were a bystander looking in. Separate yourself from your mind’s thinking.
Perhaps after you study your thoughts and emotions you will think to yourself, “Wow, am I really still working through that?” And guess what? Over time, your negative feelings and emotions will lessen and genuine awareness, love, and acceptance will grow in their place. You will begin to realize that your mind is just an instrument, and you are in control of your mind, not the other way around.
By not judging your thoughts or blaming them on anyone else, and merely watching them, there will be a big shift within you— our sense of self-worth.
It’s not like you won’t get upset anymore or never feel anxious, but knowing that your thoughts and emotions are just fleeting feelings that are independent of you will help ease your tension and increase your positive presence, allowing you to forgive and let go.
Feeling sorry for yourself and sabotaging the present moment with resentful thoughts of the past won’t make anything better. Hurting someone else will never ease your own inner angst.
If you’re disappointed with yourself or frustrated with someone else, the answer is not to take it out on the world around you. Retribution, whether it’s focused on yourself or others, brings zero value into your life.
The way beyond the pain from the past is not with vengeance, mockery, or bullying, but with present love.
Forgive the past, forgive yourself, forgive others, and love the present moment for what it’s worth. There are plenty of beautiful things to love right now; you just have to want to see them. Loving is never easy, especially when times are tough, yet it is easily the most powerful and positively enduring action possible.
If you’re feeling pain, don’t take an action that creates even more pain. Don’t try to cover darkness with darkness. Find the light. Act out of love. Do something that will enable you to move forward toward a more fulfilling reality. There is always something good you can do. There is always love to give. Fill your heart with it and act in everyone’s best interest, especially your own.
Leverage your love to forgive yourself for the bad decisions you made, for the times you lacked understanding, for the choices that hurt others and yourself. Forgive yourself for being young and reckless. These are all vital lessons. And what matters most right now is your willingness to grow from them.