Learn how to forgive and the self-benefits you’ll receive.

Recently, I was introduced to a beautiful concept during one of Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra’s 21-day meditations, and the words have really stuck with me: “Forgiveness is for me,” it said.  “Forgiveness sets me free.”

We all experience emotional pain in our lives, both the pain of hurting another and the pain that gets triggers within us in response to the behavior of others.  If we do not take action to “mend” the hurt within ourselves, we can end up feeling “stuck– often for many years –in the pain of the anger or resentment we’re holding onto.  Not only does the stress of this repressed pain provide the perfect incubator for dis-ease to form in our bodies; it also holds us back from experiencing each moment with fresh eyes and living our lives to the fullest.

Most of us know how terrible it feels to harbor pain and resentment, and some of us have no doubt experienced how holding onto grudges robs us of joy and causes us to repeat unfulfilling patterns.  So, why, then, do so many of us continue telling the tales of those we feel have wronged us, long after the wounding incident?   In some cases, the experience of being a victim is so pronounced that we’ve actually made it part of our identity and we truly don’t know who we would be apart from this self-assigned role.  Others believe that forgiving someone (or ourselves) for a past hurt is the same as discounting that the painful event ever occurred or condoning the action of those who were involved.

What I’ve seen in the course of my practice as a life coach is that there is one misconception surrounding forgiveness that is more prevalent than all the rest, and this misconception is at the heart of why many of us squander years of our lives in a holding pattern of resentment, guilt, and pain: We believe that forgiving someone else is a kindness that we’re bestowing on them.  The reality is, although forgiveness may look like a gift that we are giving to someone else, it is really an act of self-love that we bestow upon ourselves. It is one of the most liberating steps we can take.  When we forgive others, we are finally able to take back our power, to release the past, and to move on with our lives.  Forgiveness frees us in body and mind from the heavy burdens of the past and allows us to appreciate the person we now are – as well as the person we have the potential to become.

So, how can we forgive more easily when others have hurt us?  And even more important, how can we forgive ourselves?

The first step is being aware of and acknowledging the pain that your actions have wittingly or unwittingly caused or the pain that you experienced in response to someone else’s actions.  Emotional pain often starts innocently, as the result of misunderstanding or a miscommunication.   If you start with the premise that the person involved most likely did not act out of an intentional desire to hurt you, but rather acted in an attempt to meet some need of his or her own, you’ll find that much of the sting of the hurt you experienced will ease right away.

Next, remember that your singular intention in forgiving another is to help yourself feel better, lighter, and more at peace within yourself.  It’s not your job to make sense of another’s behaviors; you are in charge only of your life, and of your thoughts and actions. Forgiveness is what you are after because forgiveness is what will set you free.

Taking the two steps above will prepare you mentally and emotionally to releasing old resentment, but the next step – if you approach it sincerely and with an open heart – will give you the most traction of all.

Justification is the primary “payoff” we get from dragging around out resentments and grievances from the past:  As long as we hold the person who hurt us responsible for our limitations and shortcomings, they continue to provide us with the perfect excuse for why our lives are not as fulfilling as we’d like them to be.

The moment we recognize the blessings that ultimately came out of the challenges we’ve lived through; when we discover the insights, skills, wisdom, and clarity of desire that’s been born within us as a result of the pain we experienced, our justifications and excuses begin to fall away. We see ourselves as powerful creators rather than as victims and come to know ourselves as someone who is much bigger than the heartaches we’ve endured, and as someone who has expanded and evolved – not only in spite of those heartaches but because of them.

To find the blessings of any painful relationship or event, find a time when you are feeling settled and calm, and gently begin to contemplate these questions:

*How has this experience caused me to grow, to expand, or to evolve?

*What do I now understand – about myself, about others and about life – as a result of having lived this experience?

*What insights or skills do I now possess that I would not have developed if it had not been for this experience?

*What desires have been born within me as a result of this event?

*What opportunities are open to me now that were not possible or probable prior to this occurrence?

Every experience – the blissful and the painful – presents us with opportunities to learn, grow, evolve and decide with greater clarity who we want to be and how we want to live our lives from this moment forward. The sooner we seek out and embrace these gifts, the sooner our resentments soften into gratitude.

The final and most important step in the process of freeing yourself from the stress and limitation of resentment is to release any resentment you may still be holding against yourself.  We’ve all made mistakes, and we’ve all brought pain upon ourselves by allowing ourselves to remain in denial rather than heeding the voice of our intuition.  And most of us have said or done things that have resulted in pain or heartache for someone we deeply care about.  It’s vital that we offer ourselves the same amnesty that we offer others, and to acknowledge that we really are doing the best that our resources permit us to do at any given time.

A really beautiful ritual for cultivating forgiveness and self-love is to simply call forth in your mind’s eye an image of yourself as a sweet, innocent child below the age of five, and imagine telling this child that you are sorry for all the times you made poor choices, discounted your better judgment, or ignored your intuition.  Acknowledge all the ways and times that you participated in behaviors that hurt yourself or someone you love, and for all the times you sold yourself out in an attempt to win the love, attention or approval of others. Allow yourself to be moved by the openness of this child; of the love that can so easily be shared and received. An open heart and an increased capacity to both give and receive love are just some of the gifts waiting for those who are courageous enough to let go of blame and self-judgment and step into forgiveness.

Life is simply too short to hold onto dark energy; forgiveness releases you from any past negativity and enables you to become a much healthier, happier person.

Jeanne Provost is the founder of Living Well Life Coaching based in Wilsonville, Oregon.  As a life coach and certified hypnotherapist, Jeanne helps clients with their journey of forgiveness and guides them in fulfilling their life’s passions and dreams.  To learn more about her work, visit her at www.livingwelllifecoaching.com.

Forgiveness: Is it for you or the one you are forgiving?

I heard some beautiful words from one of Oprah & Deepak’s 21-day meditations this past year that have stuck with me “Forgiveness is for me, forgiveness sets me free.”

We all experience hurts in our lives, either we have hurt someone or someone has hurt us. If we do not take action to “mend” the hurt we end up feeling “stuck” in the pain it’s caused. We hold ourselves back from experiencing life to its fullest when ignore our hurts. By allowing our pride or ego to control us we hold onto unhealthy energy, and it hurts both our mind and our body. The high acid from stress your body receives when you “hold” on to grudges, hurts or anger is a perfect incubation for disease in our bodies.

How do we forgive more easily? How do we allow others to forgive us when we have hurt them?

The first step is being aware and acknowledging you hurt someone by your actions, or you’re hurt from someone else’s actions. Hurts mostly come from a misunderstanding or lack of proper communication. Then “pride” or “ego” steps in and gets in the way. When you hold onto feelings of anger or bitterness, the pain underneath grows. The stress makes you feel sick and holds you back in life. The only way to begin healing is to take the first step in acknowledging your pain. In most cases, both parties are injured just in different ways. When you accept what has happened, the painful “stuck” energy begins to lighten. Forgiveness transforms heavy energy; just think of what you could do with all this “new” transformed energy!

Our souls crave joy and love. Holding on to grudges only creates stress and anxiety and strips your body and mind of what it really wants. Having the “desire” to forgive or be forgiven is all you need to start. The word “desiring” is a verb, which is an action, and with a “desire” the action to repair starts to take place. If you have a desire to improve the situation, and you go within yourself and do the inner work to let go of the hurt, your energy shifts, and healing begins to take place. When you make the decision to forgive or to allow forgiveness you let go of resentment. Immediately your energy is lifted, and you feel better. Don’t worry about the other person; you are only in charge of your life, of your thoughts and actions. Your forgiveness is what sets you free.

Next time you feel “stuck” in hurt or resentment; try expressing it by writing a very honest letter or having a heart to heart talk with that person instead. Most times writing the letter leads to a conversation. Try opening your heart by looking into the future, and seeing your relationships healed. Life is too short! Begin to set yourself up to create new incredible memories. Forgiveness releases any past negative energy, and you become a healthier, happier person! The best part of forgiveness is it creates a chain reaction, and you can be pleased you are helping create a happier, healthier world!

Jeanne Provost
Living Well Life Coaching

“Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions. It’s how we react to our thoughts that creates a beautiful life.”

It took me years to discover that every situation I was facing in life came with a decision. I could choose to go through life the easy way or the hard way; with a positive attitude, or put up a fight. I realized with each choice I made there was a consequence, either positive or negative.

What’s funny is that when my children were young I would explain this to them all the time. Instead of telling my girls “no” about something, I would tell them they could choose what to do; but I would also explain the importance of making their choice. With each decision they made, there was either a good result or something that would be harder. Ninety-nine percent of the time, they made the choice that sounded as if it had a better result.

What I was not doing was following my own good guidance, and I was creating havoc in my own life. When I started becoming aware of this within myself, I was able to make a conscious shift in my own actions.  When I thought about what my consequences would be if I did or said something my whole life shifted.  Slowly my life became so much lighter and happier, even when difficulties were occurring.

When an upsetting situation occurred, the old me would be filled with anxiety and my mind would fill with awful thoughts. I would raise my voice and it caused everyone around me to have anxiety too.  Now when something happens that I start feeling anxiety about, I practice a little technique that takes only a second to do. I put my forefinger and thumb together and say to myself, “reject,” and quickly replace my negative thoughts with positive thoughts.  Next I visualize the situation with a positive outlook.

With this practice I have truly felt a shift in my life. There is a new peacefulness, and a new sense of happiness that was missing before.  Sometimes I feel I’m experiencing a little “heaven” on earth as I move through difficulties much faster and easier. Life always hand’s you challenges and it’s how you handle the challenges and what you learn from the experience that counts.  What you learn and grow from a situation is what helps you create a joyful and happy life.

This change did not happen overnight. It has taken a lot of awareness on my behalf, and this past year is really when I realized I truly was showing up and practicing this in my life. About p months ago I was taking a webinar class with an amazing author who handpicked 15 people to bring through the journey of writing a book proposal. I had just received the “pile” of homework for the following week, and as I signed off the webinar, my body filled with anxiety.

Unhealthy thoughts raced through my head: “I’ll never be able to do this”  “This is too much” “I’ll never write my book!”  “It’s too much work!” Boom, boom, boom the self-doubting thoughts came at me fast. My breath became shorter, and my eyes filled with tears, I felt as if I were having a panic attack.

Then I remembered my “REJECT” technique I use with my clients, and
I quickly pressed my forefinger to my thumb and saying, “REJECT.”  I immediately replaced my negative thoughts with positive ones. I told myself, “I am a published author!” I can get all this work done this week!” “I will delegate some of the work to a website designer.” “What I’m writing is important to share with the world!” Instantly my mood shifted and my breathing went back to normal. I wrote a quick email to the web designer I wanted to design my site, and made a list of what I had to get done. In a few minutes, I was back in the world with a smile on my face.

This “REJECT” technique is just one simple technique you can use to begin transforming your life. By practicing this technique you are making a conscious decision to replace your negative thoughts with positive thoughts.  By doing so YOU begin to create a happier, healthier life for yourself.  At first it’s not that easy; you may be saying “REJECT” over a hundred times a day, but that number will lower by the day until one day you realize you aren’t doing this very often and suddenly your life feels better.  As you become aware of your negative thoughts and you take deliberate action to change them, you become empowered and in more control of your life.  It’s all about paying attention to your thoughts, your words and the decisions you’re making.  Your thoughts and words become your actions, and your life imitates what you are thinking.  As humans we have the ability to “choose” a happier and more joyful life.  I invite you to choose HAPPINESS AND JOY in your life.

Jeanne Provost



Do you know how important your thoughts really are? Do you know that when you feed yourself negative thoughts or “chemically based” thoughts, you could be causing damage to your body? I recently read a study that claimed this and it made me think, can this possibly be true? Is this part of what causes sickness in our bodies? I asked myself if part of my healing could be in reprogramming my beliefs surrounding myself, and once I started consciously turning my negative thoughts into positive thoughts, my life has turned around immensely.

I started using a simple technique I was shown that involves awareness and some creativity.  Each time I had a negative thought, I would pretend I was picking up a stick and noticing both ends.  One end had the negative thought I was experiencing attached to it.  With awareness I’d look at the end of the stick with the negative thought, and then I would flip the stick around.  Next, I’d think of an opposite, or positive thought, to replace the negative thought with.  I say this new thought to myself while placing it on the other end of the stick. In a few minutes I notice how my whole energy shifts and step out of that negative space immediately.  At first I felt like I was picking up that stick every five minutes, then every half hour or hour, and then once or twice a day. The negative thoughts still come, but I am able to release them quicker and this has created much more peace into my life.

Another important part of being emotionally healthy is having self-love, and it is crucial to our wellbeing. It leads to acceptance and appreciation, and takes away self-judgment. Many people have a hard time feeling self-love, but it is so important to develop this within your self.  You see, when you love your own self unconditionally, then you are able to love others in this same way, and that is what good relationships are made of.

I learned a great tool from Louise Hay called “Mirror Work.” What you do is stand in front of a mirror, look into your eyes, and say “I love you” over and over again. This sounds simple, but if you’re lacking in self-love, it is a hard exercise to do.  Many times tears are shed as your breaking the dam that’s been holding self-loathing thoughts inside. Give yourself permission to do this every day until you feel a true shift and feel a sense of self-love within.

Another practice I share with clients is saying over and over, “I have value, I am valuable.” Time yourself for one minute, saying these phrases over and over again.  Saying these two phrases out loud, with strength and conviction in your voice, activates your self-worth within. Doing this raises your vibration and your feelings of self-love and self-worth begin to grow, and you step into the world with a new sense of confidence.

Practicing these tools will help raise your self-esteem, help you accept and love yourself unconditionally, and as you do you will create more happiness in your life.  This in turn spreads this same energy to others around you. When your thoughts are positive, you become happier, your cells are healthier, and your mind and body feel better.  This creates a desire to treat yourself and others better.  It motivates you to take care of yourself by exercising and eating healthier, and in doing so your living life from a healthier and happier place.

Jeanne Provost lives in Portland, OR where she has her Life Coaching practice. She is a NW Artist and Stock Photographer. Jeanne is writing her first book called Tuning In: One woman’s journey of listening to her intuition. You can find Jeanne at www.livingwelllifecoaching.com