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How to embrace forgiveness

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Everyone has been hurt. Maybe your parents criticized you when you were young, or you were pushed aside and ignored while everyone else got picked first in dodge ball. Whether it was a big incident or something small, these wounds can leave you feeling angry and bitter.

When we don’t aggressively forgive, we might be the ones who pay the biggest price. By contrast, by embracing forgiveness, we invite congruence, confidence, gratitude and joy in our lives. As we explore authenticity, let’s consider how forgiveness can improve our lives in the physical, emotional and spiritual.

Forgiveness defined

Forgiveness is a simply a choice to let go of anger and bitterness. This doesn’t mean that the pain will go away, it may always remain in your life. When we forgive we lesson the hold the bitterness holds on our lives. This allows us to focus on the positive aspects that truly matter. Best case scenario, forgiveness may lead to understanding, empathy for the one who hurt you.

When we forgive we are not denying or writing off the other person’s responsibility and we are not justifying the wrong. One can forgive without excusing the act. Here, we are simply allowing ourselves to rise above the situation.

WIIFM?

As stated earlier, forgiveness can improve our lives in the physical, emotional and spiritual. Forgiveness can lead to:

  • Stronger relationships
  • Solid spiritual and emotional well-being
  • Lower stress
  • A healthier heart
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Strengthening of your immune system
  • Less depression
  • Greater feelings of self

When you chose to hold on to the grudge you may:

  • Your life may be dimmer with less enjoyment of the here and now
  • Feel depressed and anxious
  • Feel that you are not living authentically
  • Begin to lose close relationships

Forgiving is a choice to begin a process. The way you chose to let go of past hurt is completely in your hands. Each person, and each experience is different and each is colored by our own life experiences. Some ideas to begin are below:

  • Take a moment to make a written list of what letting go would mean to you
  • Begin to consider how the events that led you to here have colored your life thus far.
  • Are you allowing the events to hold you back from what you really want in life?
  • Make an active decision to forgive the person. If you’re not ready now, try setting a date in the near future and repeat the above steps in the meantime.
  • Realize that when you hold on to the hurt and bitterness you are the victim.
  • Take a cue from Vishen Lakhiani, If you are not ready to actively forgive the person face to face, simply begin to visualize the situation and individual, as you do quietly and succinctly say to this vision, “I forgive you, do you forgive me?” Then picture the person saying the same thing to you.

When, not if, you find yourself stuck:

  • Try to see from the others point of view.
  • Did this person act out of their own hurt and bitterness, if so, you could be following in their footsteps.
  • Think about how you’ve felt when you’ve been hurt and have experienced the other side of forgiveness yourself.
  • Try writing about the event and how it made you feel. When you’re done, step outside and burn the writing.
  • If none of these ideas work, you may want to seek help outside of yourself. The wise counsel of friends or a professional may be the best course of action for you.

In the end forgiveness can bring back your own personal power by taking away the power the other person held in your life up till now. Being authentic is about embracing the authentic. The pain is real, the hurt is real, what we do with it is our choice.

Every one of us should consider the mistakes we’ve made from an honest perspective. All religions and philosophies speak of man’s faultiness. While generally well meaning at heart, we will all fall short of our standards and the standards of others. When we realize that our decisions have impacted other lives we will begin to see ourselves in a true manner.

Parting thoughts:

  • However, to approach this in the healthiest manner, we should avoid judging ourselves too severely. You will make mistakes, you are human. The key is to remember that you cannot force forgiveness, not for yourself nor for anyone else. We all move to forgiveness in our own time.
  • Remember, this is a process. You may have to work on forgiving over and over again to fully find a way to let the situation go.
  • Always, in every circumstance, chose to approach everyone from a state of empathy and compassion.
  • When you falter, act quickly and ask for forgiveness.
  • Speak sincerely and chose to live without excuses.
  • Remember-you will never force another to change. You can only control you.

Originally published at thehumblegents.com.