As we get ready for the New Year, it is common to set goals and resolutions for 2007. Yet, more importantly in getting ready for a New Year of growth and prosperity is to forgive yourself and others for past financial transgressions and mistakes. What is forgotten about when moving towards lofty goals is that past blame, hatred, anger, resentments, etc. will hold us back from reaching our goals.
How does forgiveness play a role? What we sometimes fail to understand is that an incident takes just a blink of an eye and then it is over. Someone may have cheated you, lied to you, or has done other things to you, yet the event itself is already in the past. We are the ones that carry it forward to today in regards to what we think it means about us.
For example, you may have not gotten a large raise or bonus from your boss last year. Thus, you feel unappreciated and may believe that you will never get ahead. Yet, you are going to give this job one last chance. You have your eyes set on a promotion that is set to open up later in the year and make your goal to get that promotion. A few months down the line you finish up an amazing project and pat yourself on the back. You wait and wait for your boss to congratulate you on the project, yet he never comes around. The feeling of being unappreciated from the snub for the raise comes back and you get angry at your boss. The next time he asks you for a favor, you answer back with an sarcastic attitude because you doubt that busting your butt will have any effect when he does not even recognize your work.
Note, the anger for not getting a raise is just boiling under the surface all year round ready to come out when you feel like a victim to your boss again. Your boss may actually have recognized all your hard work and was thinking about promoting you yet could not give you a raise due to his hands being tied and just forgot to say thank you for that project (you were never around when he went to your desk to say thank you). Yet, the sarcasm may have made him think twice about promoting you. Thus, our anger and resentments may have come back to bit you and thus should to be resolved to help you meet your goals.
You may think that this is a one-time situation that happens at work (and the boss is really a jerk). Yet, it can happen even on our budget goals:
For example, you may decide to save an extra $1,000 a year. In the past, something has always comes up that eats away at your savings. However, you are going to give this one last chance because saving up for an emergency fund is important. Even the statement (one last change) may sound angry due to the experience from the past on how life did you wrong. You find yourself moving towards your goal by saving $500 by mid-year. Then, you get in a little fender bender on the free way and need to pay a $500 deductible. I can imagine the words you would use when you got to pay the $500 deductible with the $500 in savings that you had worked so hard on. Yet, the bigger issue is that you just lost momentum to save and can’t get it back because this is how life always treats you (kicks you just as you get ahead). Thus, you give up your goal and spend any extra money that you get because what is the use saving it.
I hope you can see how anger and blame can sabotage your goals just as you are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. The key is to release the anger and blame towards yourself and others (including life in general) and see that anger and blame aroused by how you reacted towards the event. In any one situation, someone may get angry while someone else may decide not to. The answer to meeting your goals instead of sabotaging it with blame is to decide how to react differently.
In the past, you may have gotten angry at your boss for not appreciating you. Yet, in reality, you are mad because a part of you did not appreciate yourself, first. As I told a client the other day, imagine if you had a Harvard education and someone calls you stupid. If you believe that you are not stupid, the words do not have any effect on you. Yet, if you believe it a little inside you, the words can make you angry at that person. It is important to note that you unconsciously believed at some level first.
What can you do to release the anger and blame? Forgiveness. Some people feel that forgiveness is giving the person permission to have done what they did. Yet, in reality, it only releases you from reliving the emotions (e.g., anger and frustration) from the event. So instead of helping others, you are helping yourself.
There are several forgiveness exercises including one that I wrote about earlier (click here). Other exercises include writing down what you want to forgive on a piece of paper and then burning the paper. Other exercises include writing down what and who you want to forgive every day for at least 7 days. Another exercise is about remembering that the incident is on a moment in time and that it is probably miniscule in the larger picture of life (especially if you believe in an after-life). Thus, it could be a statement like, I am a spiritual being and this event has no lasting impact on me.
Thus, as you start the New Year, take a few moments and think about what you want to forgive, so that it does not impact you in the current year.