dog with shoeTo forgive is to release, and is a choice all of us can make.

Is it easy? That’s not my call to make. Is it worth it? Absolutely.

Letting go of resentment, disappointment, sorrow and anger can be a bit challenging, but it becomes an easier choice if we remember the following: people behave, speak and act through the stories they tell themselves, their beliefs and self-concept, and based off the information they have at that time.

Forgiveness is selflessness, and is a gift we bestow unto others and ourselves. When we forgive, we set ourselves free. We’re no longer shackled to the hurt, pain, frustration, or disappointment the circumstance created. We release ourselves from the confines of resentment, anger, sadness, and anything else that would keep us imprisoned. Stealing away valuable time that could be spent in joy, love, and peace. This is all time and energy we can’t ever get back.

When negative emotions aren’t released and that energy is held within, it turns poisonous and toxic, affecting our emotional, mental, and physical health, often translating into and manifesting as ailments, illness and disease in the body.

Not only is forgiveness a choice, but a practice; and is greatly influenced by ego. Can we let go of the need to be right? Feel in control? Or do we want to get someone back, giving them a taste of their own medicine? This is the work of our ego at its best, which is directed by our beliefs and self-concept.

How we respond to others, situations and scenarios, is like a broadcast of our personal story.

Dog teaches us, in so many ways, “to forgive is Divine.”

Have you ever accidentally stepped on your dog’s tail, felt remorse and quickly apologized (as we naturally would), then were met with a few licks and a wiggly, cheerful, “it’s cool” body as a reply? Met a dog with a horrifying past, but whose tail still wags, is welcoming of human touch and companionship, and seems simply happy to be alive? Perhaps you came home hours late, missing your usual “walk time” with your dog; and when you finally walk through the door, he or she is just as ecstatic to see you as if you’d been there at your usual time? Watched your dog have a “disagreement” with another dog, only to turn around and they’re running laps side by side and playing minutes later?

In the dog world, forgiveness is just “business as usual.” Why? What happens in the past is simply no longer relevant to a being that fully lives in the present.

This is something we commonly see in the rescue world. Dogs with unfortunate pasts getting rescued by kind-hearted and well-intended people, but the people refuse to let go of the story that came with the dog. They pour more energy into feeling sorry and compensating for all the wrongs done, preventing the dog from the ability to move forward. We can’t move past an experience if we continue to feed it; nor can our dogs.
What we pour our focus and energy into, expands and grows. When we hold on and pour our emotional, word and thought energy into a story, it doesn’t go away. It continues to stay fresh, and increase in size and nature.

Dogs are incredibly resilient creatures. We help both ends of the leash when we’re able to forgive, release, and move forward.

It is often said that, “To err is human; to forgive, Divine.” Well, it could also be said, “To err is human; to forgive, is (to be) Dog.”