Forgive to Forge Ahead with Purpose

By Sarah Sparks

Why can’t we let things go? We naturally know what is best for us and what would propel us forward to the success and happiness we desire, but we do not take action to move forward. Instead we hold onto the past, our past fears, doubt, regret, and guilt. By holding onto all the guilt and shame we are only hurting ourselves, not the other person or people we are upset with. Throughout our lives, we are taught to suffer, instead of living our life on purpose.

To live your life on purpose, you must begin with forgiveness. Please allow me to illustrate forgiveness through a story I love.

There are two mothers and their two children playing in a park. The two children run off and are playing on the swing set, while the mothers are chatting near a picnic bench. The children come running back to the mothers to tattle on each other for being mean and rude to one another. The mothers tell each child to forgive the other and go on and play, have fun. The children say they are sorry and run off again as if nothing happened.

In the meantime, the two mothers start loudly discussing a controversial topic about raising children. They gather the children, stomp off the play ground, and never to speak to one another again. The mothers did not take their own advice about forgiving each other and moving on. They have learned throughout their adult life to stand firm in their beliefs, even if it means never forgiving another—often just to make the other person suffer.

The fact is you are the only person who suffers when you do not forgive others. You hold onto the guilt, blame, shame, fear, and anger about the situation that occurred between you and another. The other person has already moved on. He is already worried about what he said, done, or could have said and done to make the situation better. I will share with you a personal story that taught me the importance of forgiving myself.

One early morning, I awoke feeling guilty for leaving my ex-husband. I felt as though I wanted to call him so I could tell him how sorry I was for hurting him. I wanted to get this guilt and shame off my chest by forgiving him for how me made me feel and for him to forgive me for leaving him. I sent him a text message explaining what a great guy he is and how I wanted him to be happy, and I would love to chat with him about my feelings about our situation.

Twenty minutes later I receive a text back from him. The text said: “This is a message I am not used to receiving. How nice. I am sorry, but who is this?”

After reading his text, I had an ‘Oh Shift’ moment! (This is a moment where I combine an ‘oh sh*t’ and ah-ha!) It dawned on me, what was once true is no longer true. I am holding onto this blame, shame, and guilt for no reason. The person I want forgiveness from, so I may move on with my life and live with purpose, has already forgiven me and moved on; he doesn’t even have my number saved in his phone. What I needed to do was forgive myself. I did not need to have a conversation with him.

I did not have to beg, borrow, and pledge for his forgiveness. All I had to do was forgive myself.

You see, God, who is Love, did not intend for us to suffer—for we are all one. There is no separation between God and each and every one of us. We are one. You and I. We are one with nature. We are one. When I see you, I see me. When I am upset at you, I am upset at me. When I love you, I love me. When I am proud of you, I am proud of me. When I am frustrated with you, I am frustrated with me. We are one. We are made in the likeness and image of God. We chose to come to earth to remember who we are and why we are here. We create our lives by our thoughts, words, and actions. There is no need for judgment, only acceptance. There is no need for hatred, only love. There is no need for sadness, only joy. There is no need for disasters, only blessings. There is no need to be spiteful, only grateful.

Since we are all one, no one person is above another. Therefore, there is no reason to say you are sorry and place yourself beneath anyone. All you have to do is forgive yourself. Admit when you have not spoken and acted with Love and move on. Once you know this—to forgive yourself first and foremost—you will no longer suffer and you will begin to see yourself in others. You will see the hurts and pains that others hang onto only because they do not know how to forgive. You will remember that you once were at the same place and did not know how to forgive. You will see others’ greatest strengths because you now see your own. You no longer make yourself suffer by believing you must carry around all the blame, shame, and guilt. You have forgiven yourself and moved on. You now see only the good in others because you only see the good in you. You are free to be you because you have forgiven yourself and moved on.

Forgiveness is the beginning to living your life on purpose. Here’s to your loving your life!

Sarah A. Sparks, MPA, is the speaker and relationship mentor for Create The Spark, LLC. Sarah has her BA in Human Resource Management, a certificate in Training: Design and Development from the University of Northern Iowa, as well as a MPA from Drake University. Sarah worked as a leader for two local governments in Iowa from 2004-2010, in the capacity of an Operations Transit Supervisor and Safety Coordinator, and as a Parks and Recreation Director. While serving these communities, Sarah mentored and trained numerous employees. Through this experience, she discovered the belief in one’s self is what limits someone from creating the life she desires. From that point onward, Sarah made it her mission to guide those who want to be mentored to create the life they desire by having the confidence and trust in themselves to make the right decision and say what they need to say, with love! Email Sarah at or visit


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