Let’s talk about the F Word… forgiveness.
To forgive someone means to release feelings of anger or resentment towards someone who has hurt you. Forgiveness can also mean to release feelings of self-loathing or hatred towards one’s self for imperfections or so called ‘mistakes’. The key word here is release; you are releasing that situation to allow yourself to move forward.
Unfortunately, it is an inevitable part of life that people will let you down, disappoint and hurt you. The way you choose to handle such disappointment or pain (and yes you do have control over this) will undoubtedly affect your emotional and spiritual well-being. You cannot control the actions or words of others, but you can control how you choose to let them affect you. I’m sure someone people right now are screaming at the screen saying “but this person did this to me and it was so terrible I cannot help but feel so angry” (or something to that affect). But what is important to realise that whilst someone may have hurt you, you are simply giving them even more power if you allow them to control how you feel. Think about it; if someone hurts you so deeply because they have betrayed you, it is only empowering them further to allow them to make you feel anger or pain. By letting go you are not excusing that person’s words or actions but you are choosing not to allow it to negatively affect you.
People can hold onto anger and resentment towards someone that has wronged them for days, weeks or even decades. At the end of the day the only person that this is destroying is you. I think Buddha hit the nail on the head – “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”. If you hold onto anger or resentment all that you are doing is causing more pain in your life (not the person’s life who hurt you) and holding yourself back from finding true peace and happiness. Louise Hay teaches that anger is one of the top causes of many dis-eases the body including (but not limited to); Bursitis, Ear Aches, Gout, Kidney Stones, Pimples and Throat Issues. Forgiving someone that has wronged you, is not in the least about that person, it is about YOU!
Without forgiveness, you will never let go of the situation and you will never move forward. Choosing to forgive someone is not even excusing the person who has wronged you; they don’t even have to know that you have forgiven them. Forgiveness is actually very much about you and the way you are choosing to allow that person to affect you. You may not even feel as though the person deserves forgiveness, but ask yourself this question: Do I deserve peace? The answer of course is a resounding yes!
There may be a situation in your life where a person has wronged you but genuinely admitted to you that they made a mistake and asked for your forgiveness. Remember if someone asks for your forgiveness that people are human and we all make mistakes. So if you are unwilling to forgive someone who is genuinely asking for forgiveness, you cannot expect others to forgive you.
An important point about forgiveness is that it does not excuse, justify or pardon the person’s behaviour. It is a process entirely for your own benefit to realise that the past cannot be change therefore it is in your best interest to release those negative emotions. It does not mean that the person is necessarily let back into your life..which brings me to the second part of forgiveness. Forgiving is an absolute must (no matter how long it takes you) but you must then decide if you allow that person back into your life. If that person is going to take you away from the light or your soul purpose then strongly consider if they ought to be in your life. Being a good person does not mean that you must continue to allow people in your life that continually disrespect you, disappoint you or just generally drain your positive energy. You are not obliged to keep these types of people in your life.
I have been disappointed and hurt by many people in my life, family, friends, even strangers. But I have come to realise that for my own peace and happiness, the greatest gift I can give myself is to forgive them. That’s not to say it has been an easy thing to do or even something that I have finished working on.
Some useful tools that have helped me forgive people in my life:
- Journaling – writing in a notebook exactly how a person or situation made you feel, can really help to release a lot of pent up and often deep rooted emotion.
- Writing a letter – sometimes you may not have the opportunity to tell the person how their words or and/or actions affected you, but writing a letter to them and getting it all out is therapeutic. You don’t have to give the letter to the person; I’d recommend destroying the letter as a sign of the release.
- Meditating – connecting with yourself and taking time out the simply just be and breathe is so beneficial.
- Visualisation – close your eyes and imagine yourself cutting the cord that connects you to that person.
I would love for you to share your reactions and thoughts to my blog post, maybe even a first step that you are going to take to forgive someone in your life.