To err is human. In the process, people get hurt. If only one could turn the clock back and undo what happened.
But there is a way.
Everyone makes mistakes. We hurt others. Others hurt us. Luckily, we have the choice to come to terms with the situation and let go of the painful memories so we can move on with our lives.
“Forgiveness is not something we do for other people; we do it for ourselves – to get well and move on.”
If you’re thinking forgiving someone lets the one that hurt you off the hook, that’s not it. Forgiveness is all about feeling happier and releasing the suffering to make us feel better. Thing is, suffering does not help anyone.
If you are wondering why you should forgive, here are some solid reasons:
- You feel better. After you forgive, you feel better. You release the resentment eating away at you. You let go of pain and enjoy your life better
- You are healthier. Resentment and anger affect your health and stress you out. Stress causes diseases. Our mind-body connection translates what we think into what we feel. Forgiveness frees you from that stress. It also keeps your blood pressure in check and your immune system working properly. You also minimize the chances of developing back pain, headaches and tummy aches.
- People like you more. Who likes someone who’s always harbouring grudges?
- Forgiveness stops you from feeling miserable each time the feelings of hurt return because you’ve dealt with them.
- Obsessing over the negative can result in mental health issues
Oh yes, forgiving is tough. But what about the price we pay for not forgiving? Emotional and physical stress.
“Anger makes you smaller; while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you were”
One of the best ways to forgive is by practicing gratitude
It is a wonderful way to usher in the practice of forgiveness as it lets us focus on the good things and appreciate what we have. It enables us see things from a different perspective and encourages us to forgive.
So see the situation from a different angle. Rather than see ourselves as the victim why not see ourselves as survivors and be optimistic?
Obviously, forgiveness means being objective and ditching the blame game. It also calls for walking in the shoes of the person that hurt you and see both sides of the story.
Here are some steps to practice forgiveness
- Recognize how you feel about what happened. What was it that really hurt you? If you have a trusted, friend, talk about it.
- Allow yourself to make yourself feel better. Forgiveness is for you, not anyone else.
- Understand that forgiveness is not about reconciling with the person who hurt you or saying it is ok. The goal is finding peace, not taking it personally and changing your perception of the situation.
- It is important to see things from the right perspective after you get over the initial hurt feelings and upset.
- Let go of your need to get even with the person who hurt you
- Choose to be compassionate
- Move on
It is a challenge that is worth it. Because when you choose to forgive, you avoid being consumed with anger, bitterness and other toxic feelings.
Forgiving takes time
Practicing forgiveness reduces anger and stress and fills you with feelings of hope and peace. It develops healthy relationships and creates an attitude of kindness and love. Not forgiving drains our energy and makes us focus on the negative, keeping us stuck in the past. It holds us back from being who we can be. Releasing feelings of hurt helps us divert our energy on what we want rather than what hurt us.
Have you heard about the ancient forgiveness process followed by the Hawaiians?
It is called ho’oponopono.
It promotes a feeling of peace and calm towards a person or a situation and entering a state of harmony. It helps let go of resentment, anger and hurt that block the energy in our bodies. How to practice ho’oponopono?
It works on the principle of giving and receiving where both parties say “I forgive you. Please forgive me” to one another. This is an interactive process. Both parties say all they have to say to each other and get their feelings out in the open without interrupting each other. They accept each other’s feelings and statements. The next step is send love to the person. It suggests opening your heart and offering love and compassion both to yourself and the other person. Finally let go of the hurt while keeping the learning. The whole idea of ho’oponopono is to forgive the person and self, release all negative emotion and thought and move on.
Forgiveness brings freedom
freedom from being controlled by the past, from the emotional ties to the offender
freedom from the continual inner conflicts of bitterness and hate
freedom to become whole and enjoy the fullness of life
– Jeanette Vought
Question for you:
What are your views on forgiveness? Do you think it is easy? Tough? Worth it?