Holding a grudge? Take these 3 easy steps to forgiveness.

If there’s one thing that steals your peace of mind, it is thinking about others and feeling guilty yourself. Usually related to things in the past. Forgiveness is not an excuse to make more mistakes, it’s a free pill for peace of mind for which you don’t need a doctor’s receipt.

Forgive others and let go of the past

If you want to lead a happy life it is essential to learn how to forgive. It can be a challenge not to remember the mistakes of others or remind others of their mistakes, but you could turn a forgiving attitude into a habit or even a way of life. It takes practice. Like Martin Luther King said: “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”

So what do the past and remembering negative stuff have to do with one another? Thinking about others and thinking about the past are interlinked, they are siblings of the same family. Forgive and forget belong together. But how can you forget about that one family member that ruined your party or even your whole life? How could you ever forgive them? Some say, it’s easy to forgive, but difficult to forget. Others say it takes a second to forgive. Some are able to forget what happened so deeply that, even if someone reminds them, they cannot remember. Easy said, easy done right? Maybe not. Have a look at your thoughts, when feeling guilty or holding a grudge against someone, where do your thoughts wander off to? Probably something of the past right?

To forgive myself, will confession do?

Forgiveness might bring up some religious associations. When you confess, you are forgiven right? So just go to confession and you are ready to commit the same crime again?

Confession seems to be something of the western belief system. In Karmic belief it is said that there cannot be forgiveness and that there is an accurate karmic account for every act. As you sow, so you reap. In other words: no one will forgive you, you did this to yourself you moron! Instead of saying sorry or go to confession it’s probably better to just stop making (the same) mistakes, you have to pay for it sooner or later. Karma is a tough cookie that says that you cannot give your burden of sins to others, it’s your own karmic account. Ouch. If somebody else cannot take away your sins, why confess? To release stress? Maybe talking about your sins, realising what you did and being honest about it is a first step. Like in any rehab clinic, the first step is to acknowledge where you went wrong.

If you have honestly realised your mistake, but your mind continues to go over and over it, to no avail, consider this a sign that you are in need of forgiving yourself.

So forgive and forget, but how?

Benefits of Forgiveness

Forgiveness allows us to grow, move on and stop repeating the same mistakes over and over and over again. The path to freedom is, in fact, studded with moments of forgiveness. To forgive benefits both ourselves and others, when we are at peace we naturally spread that peace to others. So we know now that to forgive is to let go of the emotions of fear, sorrow and animosity that otherwise hold us captive, and negatively influence our behavior. The bonus part of forgiving others is that you will not come under the influence of their nature or bad habits. Ha! So forgiveness is freedom? It sounds great but what if I am still holding that grudge against someone and I cannot get it out of my head? Here are some steps that could help you getting into the habit of forgiving. (source: Forgiving Ourselves)

Lessons on Forgiveness

  1. Let go of Guilt Guilt stops us being able to forgive. It is linked to judgement and condemnation, and keeps us trapped in that moment in time. Move into acceptance; accept that we all make mistakes and that we are all on a journey. Situations come to teach us something, and until we learn their lesson the same situations will keep repeating. Acceptance allows us to learn from our mistakes and move on.
  2. The 7 Rs of Forgiveness Forgiveness is a process. When we realise that we have made a mistake, first we move into Regret and Repentance. These are part of the process, the first 2 Rs. We don’t want to stay here long though. Quickly move onto the next R of Release and then on into Realise, Reform, Rectify and Renew.
  3. Commit to Growth Commit to nurturing and bringing out the best in yourself and others.

a) Discover your strengths and develop them. Know your weaknesses and trigger points, only don’t focus on them. Our strengths can overcome our weaknesses when we foster them.

b) Reflect on ‘Who am I, at my best’. Become aware of how you’re thinking; focus on planting and watering good ‘thought seeds’.

c) Acknowledge your subtle achievements, such as, not rising to irritation. Be realistic here too and don’t set yourself up to fail by saying ‘I am never going to get irritated ever again!’ Know that it is a process.

Here is another tip: before going to sleep forgive everyone. You will then also feel that you are being forgiven.

Definition of Forgiveness

The action or process of forgiving or being forgiven.

Synonyms: pardon, absolution, exoneration, remission, dispensation, indulgence, understanding, tolerance, purgation, clemency, mercy, pity, lenience, leniency, quarter; reprieve, discharge, amnesty, delivery, acquittal, clearing, pardoning, condoning, condemnation, vindication, exculpation; informal let-off, letting off; archaic shift, shriving.

Forgiveness Quotes

Finally some beautiful quotes about forgiveness

  • Forgiveness is a gift given by God. Use this gift and first forgive and then forget. Dadi Janki.
  • Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much. Oscar Wilde.
  • The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. Mahatma Gandhi.
  • True forgiveness is when you can say, “Thank you for that experience”. Oprah Winfrey.
  • Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude. Martin Luther King Jr.

Originally published at eleanorgoold.com on August 19, 2015.