Whether it be a form of abuse, betrayal, war, accident or other behaviour that has left you feeling hurt, how do you forgive the unforgivable? It can seem inconceivable to forgive some of the most heinous things in this world, however its through forgiveness that we can move on with our lives.
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Forgiveness is about setting yourself free of the pain inflicted on you by either someone or something else. It’s by no means saying what was done is ok. Far from it. It’s not ok. It’s you letting go of the hurt and pain that’s deep inside your body and moving on. You can take a lesson from it. You can never think about it again. You could even wish the person or thing love and a successful future. However you think best serves you. It’s the act of forgiving that is what sets you free. Hurt and pain can settle deep into us right down to a cellular level, it can build up over years and cause physical illness as well as mental torture. Why would you allow anything to hold you down like that? To keep hurting you for years after? A pain that sits dormant (or so it seems) only to come bubbling up at the most inopportune time, cutting into you once again like a hot knife into butter?
Getting Forgiveness Wrong
Did you know that it’s very easy to get forgiveness wrong? To do it because you feel ‘it’s the right thing to do’. When in actual fact you don’t really want to forgive. This can do more damage than good. It is repressing the pain. Pretending you have dealt with it, when in reality. It is still there squatting in your body like a slimy toad under a log just waiting for the perfect rainy day to come out again. Forgiveness like all emotions has a time and a place it is willing to be undertaken. Do it before you are ready and its inauthentic, do it when you are ready and it will set you free of any associated pain.
How To Forgive?
Forgiveness is almost like surrendering to the pain. Accepting it, accepting the hurt, betrayal or crime. Allowing it to ‘be’. It happened and now you are no longer going to let it reside in you. You are going to tie it up in a pretty package, with a beautiful bow and give it back to who it belongs to, which isn’t you. Or perhaps you are going to cup it in your hands and allow it to fly free like a butterfly, seeing the beauty of it flying away from you. Filling the hole it once occupied with love, healing yourself in the process.
There are many ways to forgive, it could be a ritual such as a visualisation as described above, seeing you physically taking the pain from your body and letting it go. Or perhaps you could write a letter to the person or thing, writing down how you felt, being truthful and brutally honest. If you have to swear then do so, don’t worry about how it reads let every emotion spill onto the paper, DO NOT HOLD BACK. This can be highly cathartic, you may even cry, this is GOOD! Bringing the pain to the surface so you can face it and let in go authentically. Then when its written, go outside and burn it. The hurt and words are out of you and gone.
You could meditate on it, clearing your mind and allowing the forgiveness to flow from your heart. Saying over and over. ‘I forgive you’, ‘i forgive you’. Until you feel a sense of peace with it, like the pain has left you through your breathing.
The person doesn’t have to be there or to even know you have forgiven them. In fact. It’s better for them not to know. Just forgive and move on. No longer allow it to be part of you.
Sometimes after forgiving, the thoughts can rise up again, days, weeks or even months after. This is ok and normal, feel it, accept it, then allow it to subside. It no longer has hold of you, its just a thought and like all thoughts will fade away as quickly as it came.
Radical Forgiveness – One Step Further
In the book by Colin Tipping called Radical Forgiveness: A Revolutionary Five-Stage Process to Heal Relationships, Let Go of Anger and Blame, Find Peace in Any Situation, the author talks about traditional forgiveness (what we have explained here) and Radical Forgiveness. It is hypothesised that there is a divine purpose to everything and everything that happens, be it a tragic murder or a minor arguments are part of a a bigger picture and was pre-decided prior to our birth on the earth. In this life altering book it explains what radical forgiveness is and how to achieve it. The beauty of the book is that you do not have to believe that there is a divine purpose you just have to hold an open mind that its a possibility. Diving into this other element of forgiveness can be a freeing experience as you go through each stage and life happening to finally release yourself from the grip of its weight.
What do you forgive?
Practising forgiveness on a daily basis can help you to let go of all the things that potentially could be held onto throughout the day only to explode unexpectedly later on at someone who really doesn’t deserve it. Have you ever had a rough day only to come home and one phrase said to you by your friend, partner or family sends you into a rage? Have you considered it could just be the fact that the person who cut you up at the traffic lights or that colleague who was eating too loud may have needed forgiveness? That the little things that our minds focused on stayed in our bodies to be expelled later? Wouldn’t it be so much easier to forgive the little things to make sure that they do not add to a big thing? Of course you may find that there are many big things too you what to forgive. The point is anything can be forgiven large or small, at anytime as long as its authentic.
Have to ever seen dogs fight? They bare their teeth, the growl then they attack in a short sharp burst before one relents. The point is not that one relents but as they separate and walk away they shake their bodies as if to expel the excess energy and they carry on without holding into the fight. In essence they forgive. If we as humans could do similar and expel the annoyance, hurt, pain or grudge in a similar manner, wouldn’t life be so much easier?
Whether you choose to use these ideas talked about above, use your own or decide that you are not ready to forgive, we would love to hear your comments below and your thoughts and experiences on forgiveness.