When we think of forgiveness, we think of it as a mandatory task as it’s part of self-growth and letting go. That’s further from the truth. Forgiveness is a choice. What it truly means is quite different from what we’re taught. Part of the belief system is based on how we value forgiveness. Forgiving others, that is. Understanding the true meaning of forgiveness can bring closure, resilience and the ability to cope.
Blame is the Game in Which No One Wins
One thing that divides us from feeling relief and letting go is blame. We are often in pain when someone has hurt us and so we lash out on the person by saying, “ This is your fault! You did this to me!” Sound familiar? You’re not wrong for feeling this way. You are only human. Matter of fact, we use these words, unintentionally of course, because we want to hold the other person accountable for their actions. Hence, blame is the only way to do it. It brings psychological relief. Yet, it’s only a temporary solution. Why? Because you are reinforcing your own pain. If not taken care of, the pain can lurk into depression.
What Forgiveness Means
One thing people are resistant to believing is that if we forgive a person, we are condoning to their actions. This is a huge misunderstanding. That is why it’s important to understand what forgiveness is and what it isn’t. It’s letting go of the need to be right. As Eileen Barker states, “ Forgiveness means putting attention back onto yourself rather than on the other person.” It’s about taking responsibility for how you feel. Yet, it’s a trainable act so it takes time to learn and adapt. As I said before, it’s NOT condoning what the other person said or did was okay. It’s not excusing poor behavior. It doesn’t even mean to reconcile with the other person. It just means that we are fed up with what we’re feeling and that the only option we have is to forgive. It’s for the betterment of ourselves.
Another reason people don’t forgive is because they don’t know how. Here are some ways to start.
Start forgiving smaller things. This could include inconsiderate drivers or poor restaurant services. This could be a headstart for some people but for others it would still be difficult. In that case, start even smaller.
Don’t force yourself to forgive. It’s understandable that you want to feel better and move past the grief. However, forcing yourself to forgive is detrimental because you’re expanding more of your own suffrage and resistance. Therefore, you have to be ready. If you’re not, it’s okay. Eventually, you will be.
Realize that you’re only hurting yourself if you don’t forgive. This may be hard for some people. Recognize that the person or the thing that hurt you doesn’t exist anymore. Maybe that person is still alive and the thing is still ongoing however “they” don’t know how much they’ve hurt you. The memory, thoughts, pain and the person will always be there but who you are now and how you handle yourself now is far more important than how you used to handle yourself.
Write a letter to the person or thing that hurt you. Writing releases any negative emotions that you have about the experience, person or thing that is hurting you. For the sake of the exercise, you don’t have to send it to anybody. Make a rough draft and use profanity if you need to.
Try forgiveness meditation or hypnosis.Whether you believe in hypnosis or not, try out a forgiveness meditation . You can do a hypnosis while you sleep. When you wake up, you feel a little more at ease and your subconscious will guide you to your next move.
In all, may this entry bring you a clearer understanding of forgiveness. It’s a continuous practice so it’s not just a once in a lifetime usage. When we forgive, we let go of our grievances and any past events associated with it. We create new stories to replace with old ones. If you are ready, take the first step to faith. You’ll be surprised what’s in store for you.
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“It’s only through forgiveness that healing and wholeness can occur.” ~ Eileen Barker