The concepts of forgiveness are misunderstood by many people – maybe even by you. But how does this relate to negative judgments and pushpins? Read on to find out.
- All of the powerful, uncomfortable emotions you have about a past or present experience – like anger, resentment, frustration, guilt or shame – are connected to a negative judgment.
- All of the limiting beliefs that plague you – like “I’m not worthy”, “I can’t do it” or “it won’t happen for me” – come out of some negative judgment.
- All of the resistance, internal struggle, all of the blame and victim stories, all of the revenge fantasies, all of the defensiveness or aggression that you feel as part of the non-forgiveness – all of that is held in place by a negative judgment.
Your negative judgments say that an event was bad, wrong or shouldn’t have been the way it was. A negative judgment about an experience creates an emotional charge. It causes you to be attached to painful or destructive feelings, negative and limiting beliefs, resentments, victim stories, guilt, shame or blame.
Pushpins and Negative Judgments
I like to use the pushpin analogy for forgiveness. A couple of months ago I was talking to a group of people about forgiveness and negative judgments. At one corner of the room, I noticed a cork bulletin board used for posting flyers, notices, images, announcements, and all kinds of other information. Like so many corkboards, it was filled and practically over-flowing with items of all sorts and sizes tacked to it.
As I stared at it for a moment, a useful analogy came to mind. Sharing it, I watched the students of the class begin to nod in understanding. I knew that they really got it. So here’s the analogy. Imagine one of those cork bulletin boards – see it as one that’s cluttered, with lots of pushpins tacking items in place. Some of the pushpins are holding up one or two things. Others have veritable stacks of stuff built up and dangling from underneath them.
- In this analogy, think of yourself as the corkboard.
- Think of all of the different kinds of items tacked to the board as the thoughts, beliefs, emotions, stories and rationalizations you carry around with you about unresolved and unforgiven events and experiences of your life.
- The pushpins are like your negative judgments about the unforgiven events or experiences.
- The stack of things under any pushpin represents the burden of emotions, beliefs, stories and other stuff that you’ve built up about the incident or circumstance.
So what happens to all of that stuff when you remove the pushpin? It’s released! It falls away because there’s nothing to hold it in place any longer.
Releasing a Negative Judgment
You can release a negative judgment and forgive by shifting your perspective to see the “damaging” incident in a way that’s positive. You shift your judgments about a past or present event from negative to positive by finding value in it. By recognizing and understanding the life lessons, wisdom, spark of motivation or any other hidden benefits that you may have received as a result. Consider that every experience in your life holds the seed of some positive benefit – some potential value. Even the most negative, hurtful, seemingly damaging experience can be seen to contribute something useful to your life.
But you have to be willing step out of the victim mentality to see it and embrace it. Then you can redefine yourself in relation to the experience. When you do, the judgments you hold shift from negative to positive. You remove the ‘pushpin’ and everything else connected to the event falls away. You’re left with a completely different understanding and memory of the formerly “negative” experience. You’re left clear and free from the baggage of negative emotion, thought, belief and story, so that you can feel good, confident and empowered once again.
More about Forgiveness
For more on the benefits of forgiveness and the concept of finding the gifts or wisdom of a past experience, watch my Forgiveness FAQ’s video series. Or better yet, get a copy of The Forgiveness Handbook and read it. You’ll come to understand the what, why and how of forgiveness in a completely new way. May you live, forgiven and free! Cliff