“Forgiveness means letting go of hope for a better past”
Maybe something of a paradox – Forgiveness is a selfish act as it is better for you than the person you forgive
Please ponder the opening quote for a moment – Forgiveness means letting go of hope for a better past – it took a long time for it to really sink in for me but once it did it became one of my most ‘used’ quotes.
Resentment, hate and animosity are toxic and while we all feel and experience them when we allow historical issues to sit and fester they do us no good – in fact its been documented they actually do harm blocking alpha waves in our brain affecting relaxation and creativity.
Learning to forgive is not only healthy in itself for you but you will notice how closely it links to other areas of emotional wellness – and wellness in general.
Letting go can be profoundly moving and you will be happy to hear it doesn’t (necessarily) have to be in person – although there may be times you are promoted to do so.
Make a list of people who have wronged you or situations where you have been hurt. Choose one and try the four steps (this may take some effort… and some time… remember small steps… don’t give up)
I would suggest you set this up like a meditation and sit somewhere comfortable, where you will not be disturbed for a few moments – with your eyes closed
- Set the scene
Picture what happened. Run through the events in your mind. Play the movie clearly.
- Feel the anger and pain
Relive the anger and pain. You have to be back in the situation and really feel the emotion. Be angry.
- Forgive… let go
It can help to ask some questions about the situation such as did you ultimately grow or learn from the situation? Was there some hidden or underlying message or value?
Even if not focus on the person and let go. Whatever it was or is let it out. If its in the pit of your stomach feel it go. Imagine life without those feelings anymore – its gone. They cannot hurt you any more. You will know when its really gone
Try and imagine what caused the person to wrong you and what they may have been through to cause them to do it – or possibly what role you played. Imagine what they person would think if they knew you loved them now?
Take it up a notch: Try forgiving yourself for something
A family member borrowed a significant amount of money for a political campaign which ultimately failed. The “loan” was actually a two day cash advance supposed to tide them over until the bank opened. The money was never repaid.
Some years later the financial harm to the family, the questions over when and how it would be ever paid lingered… as did the feelings of being totally screwed.
When I ran this exercise through (more than once) I knew the money would never come back and it was futile chasing it and that those feelings only hurt me and those closest to me. I (eventually) let it go – stopped chasing it – and let go. Money can be replaced and I moved on.