Does the thought of forgiveness seem unreachable and maybe even ridiculous?
Have you ever hung onto resentment for months, even years?
Ever tell yourself that you know you should forgive someone, but it hurt so much you can’t seem to get there?
Or maybe you think true forgiveness is for saints.
If any of these statements resonate with you, hang on my friend cause I got some wonderful healing information for you!
My Experience With Forgiveness
I was never very good at forgiving people, fully and completely. Not that I didn’t want to forgive people deeply, I just didn’t understand how.
There is a way for you to forgive fully and when you do it is a blessing that will send positive waves rippling throughout your life and the life of the person you are forgiving.
Some things are easier to forgive than others. for example, what about forgiving your husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend who leaves with no real explanation. What if someone you love deeply passes away all too soon and leaves a mess? What if someone you don’t know at all, took something precious from you and you are STILL trying to move forward from the shocking event. Or what if the most horrific thing happened to you and there is no way you can ever possibly forgive. Or maybe YOU did something unforgivable to someone else and you need to forgive yourself.
All of these are forgivable.
There is seemingly no easy way to forgive in these situations, yet it is absolutely possible and necessary for you to grow and move on.
It seems people who can forgive do a great job of doing it but a lousy job explaining HOW they did it. They say things like, “You have to forgive from your heart” or something similar. Easier said than done, right?
That isn’t helpful and actually makes you even less able to forgive when some people seem to be able to do it and you can’t. When you are consumed with pain forgiveness just doesn’t seem possible.
Yet deep down you know in your hearts of hearts, you are not getting anywhere by hanging onto unforgiveness. You are only hurting yourself, again and again.
I want to break the act of forgiveness into small bite-sized pieces because it is a process that requires particular steps of engagement for success. Believe me, forgiveness is possible and is worth engaging in because your health and wellbeing so depend on it.
The Journey to Forgiveness
Phase One: Getting Ready
1) Are you READY to forgive?
First of all, you need the right environment to forgive and you need to be ready to want to forgive. Some people simply enjoy hanging onto unforgiveness and bashing the people who hurt them because they seem to think that they are somehow getting back at them in their own way.
Well honestly that is like beating a dead dog… it isn’t doing anything to the dog and only making you look … dare I say – ridiculous. Eventually, you have to wake up and realise that – unforgiveness – held tightly is self-punishment. Plain and simple.
Some people try to forgive way before they are ready. Before forgiving deeply, did you have a good anger release? If someone really hurt you, you need to release all those feelings first.
Did you let yourself feel the hurt and pain? If so that is good, you have to identify with the hurt, the pain and the sting before you are even close to being ready to forgive.
Or maybe you have been feeling stuck, in negative feelings far too long and you truly don’t see any other options or any way out. If you have been allowing yourself to stay stuck for a long time, ask yourself, “Why are you willing to suffer for so long?” What payoff are you getting from this? Isn’t it time to be kind and loving to yourself and move forward?
(If you experienced an event or trauma that is too enormous for you to work through on your own, seek professional help from an expert in that area.)
2) Work through Your Anguish
There is no point even beginning to try to forgive until you have dealt with working through you anguish, pain, hurt, betrayal or whatever it is you are feeling. You need to get to a point where you see the benefit of moving past this incident.
This doesn’t mean you are ignoring or burying what happened to you, you are simply ready for the next step. It means it doesn’t trigger you into tears or violent anger anymore. The pain might still be there but it is manageable and you are not triggered by it anymore.
Sometimes talking to a trusted friend who doesn’t know the background story and who can look at your situation completely unattached, can give very insightful advice on a different way of looking at something you are struggling to release or understand. When we say the same story in our head again and again, for months or even years, it can be near impossible to see things in a different way. And there is ALWAYS many different ways to see the same situation. Be open to the fact that there are many different ways of seeing any situation.
Whatever happened to you, has likely happened to others and people do move forward, it is possible and very necessary for your spiritual health.
If you try to forgive someone or something before you are ready, this will be counterproductive and just make you feel worse. So take the time to prepare, release, let go, heal and feel.
3) Understand that People are not Perfect, They Make Mistakes and So Do You
Be open to the fact that all people… everyone… makes mistakes. No one is perfect! Everybody has a reason for being and doing what they do. Right or wrong, that is a fact!
If someone has hurt you, be open to the fact that there was a reason for them doing what they did. Now, this reason may not have been good, ethical, or even right, but take all that out of the equation for this moment. Try to see this form a non-personal point of view.
The truth is, there is a reason why people do things. It doesn’t matter at this point if it was right or wrong. They had/have their reasons and they are not perfect.
For example, I know someone close to me who experiences anger every time the name of a particular person (who hurt them) was mentioned.
When they get triggered they lose control, yell and the focus of their anger and hurt is directed towards the person who opened that old wound. This is clearly an example of someone who has been hurt so deeply, that they have buried it rather than deal with it.
I developed my own anger issues around this scenario that played out in my family for years. It has been the ultimate dance with anger, with no solution in sight. Eventually, I embraced healing for myself when I stopped taking it all so personal and could see what the real issue was, and what was causing this person to act out so profoundly. Knowing this allows me to be far more gentle when I speak to them about this ‘person’ that hurt them long ago. I can be more sensitive in the way I talk to them about ‘this person’ and if they get triggered, I don’t feel hurt by their anger because I know it isn’t about me.
4) No One is Perfect, Not Even You
An equally important step in healing and forgiving is to realise that you are not perfect either. Ok I know someone did something terrible to you, perhaps it is so terrible you can’t ever imagine releasing it. Yet if you want to heal, if you really want to move on, you have to think of a way out of the deadlock.
You have to change the way you are thinking about it.
I’m sure there are things in your past that you did to others that hurt them, and you probably regret it deeply – or you may not even be aware of it. I’m not trying to make light of what happened to you, but just trying to get you to see that none of us is perfect. And we all have our reasons, known or not for doing what we do.
This is very relevant for family disputes. Feelings and emotions can get so misunderstood, that in your effort to help improve things you make things even worse.
Accept that you too are not perfect.
We learn by making mistakes, and in every mistake is a valuable learning and healing experience. Time to move beyond the drama of who did what, where and why, it was her or his fault… blah blah blah. That will never get anyone anywhere. So let’s agree on one thing:
We are all wrong and we are all right.
This should help to neutralize the situation. This understanding helps us to be prepared and clears the path to allow forgiveness to be possible. We also know that the people involved including ourselves are not perfect and everyone makes mistakes.
5) Accepting People for Who They are, Including Accepting Yourself
You should, hopefully, be feeling better at this point, so acknowledge that. You have started to shift the energy and you are now open to let something new in.
Keep this new momentum going! Put your hand on your heart and feel it beating and feel it radiating positive energy outwards from your body. Say to yourself you now understand better what is going on. You can pray for yourself and for those who hurt you. You can do and say whatever you like as you engage with your heart and true feelings.
Try not to get too specific about what happened to you, or how you were hurt. If you are not fully disconnected from the ‘old hurting story’ yet, you could risk going back into self-defeating dialogue. At this point, however, you should be safe, providing you have done all the other groundwork. You should be feeling ready to take the next step.
Remind yourself that you can’t create in other peoples lives, you can’t change them. You have to accept them for who they are fully and completely, so do not focus on the other people in this story at all. Focus only on your own healing. This way you take full ownership of your own healing which is very empowering.
If you have experienced a trauma with another person, don’t imagine being with them. When I say you accept them, you accept them as people, you are not accepting their actions, or even what they did or didn’t do to you. You accept them as people, and as who they are. You can accept that because you can’t change that.
You are aware and acknowledge that you can’t change anything other than your own thoughts and beliefs. This is very powerful and worth spending some time on. If you feel any resistance, back up a little and find thoughts that will soothe you and help you to feel better, and allow you to accept and stay open with your heart.
6) Shifting the Old Energy
The groundwork is done, now let your heart and feelings guide you in the best direction forward. You may feel like acting in some way. Maybe you need to apologise to someone you hurt? Maybe it is time to write a heartfelt letter? Maybe you don’t need to do anything. The very fact that you feel better means you have shifted your energy for the better and you have the release you so desired. Well done!
Now, wait and see what comes up.
Phase Two: You are Now Ready to Go Deeper
7) Radical Forgiveness
To really shift into a completely new experience I want to refer you to the incredible work done by Colin Tipping who is a forgiveness expert. There are two people who I like to use as an example of embodying forgiveness fully. Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. They came from a place of love and from the heart. They had loads to forgive, they lived in and saw and felt human misery. Yet they saved millions of lives. They also had a high vibration so much so that they did not live by their perception of the human misery. NO! Instead, they could see a greater purpose in what was happening and still hold their vibration.
Colin Tipping created a forgiveness program called Radical Forgiveness. He knew that it had to be an easy, quick, step by step process and not involve a lot of therapy.
Here are the stages he maps out in his program:
- Tell the story (already outlined above)
- Allow yourself to feel the feelings, this is very strong in the program, you can’t heal what you don’t feel, so this is the victim’s story. (already outlined above)
- Start with the victim’s story then you walk in the other person shoes. You are not letting them off the hook, we know they did something wrong, but we are trying to understand it. (explained above)
- This is where conventional forgiveness doesn’t go. The reframe.
8) The Reframe
The reframe starts with knowing that things happen for a reason and there are no exceptions to this. You understand that this was all part of a Divine Plan. Your soul wanted this experience, so it set you up to have it. It brought people into your life so you would be given this experience. Because of this, there is fundamentally nothing to forgive because nothing ‘wrong’ happened.
When you are open to this idea, it will shift your energy, and you will feel different. You will feel peaceful within.
When you get this shift, you can understand how holding unforgiveness in your heart actually only hurts you.
Revenge – again – does more harm than good to you.
9) Now, you can reach for Forgiveness
Forgiveness is a healing process that has an interesting flow. It can happen like a light bulb moment and is complete and concerns everyone and everything all at the same time. Or it can be felt slowly and gradually. For example, you may first forgive the people who have hurt you, then you forgive yourself for anything you may have done such as perpetuating negative thoughts. then you forgive all people involved who may have had some role in the drama.
Forgiveness is complete. You will know if you have truly attained forgiveness when it flows outward like a warm cosy flood of positive emotion towards everyone concerned. When experienced fully it no longer becomes something you have to do, but rather it is an acceptance of what is and a conscious intention to change the energy to something more positive. From this place, wonderful things will occur.
10) Forgiveness in Family, Friendships or Relationships
If you feel led to apologize or seek forgiveness from someone else, just be aware that they may not accept this act of forgiveness or kindness from you. That is fine, it really isn’t about them, it is about you. So again don’t beat yourself up if your forgiveness is not accepted. Extend your forgiveness whether it is accepted or not. You will still get the healing that forgiveness will provide.
If you truly want to forgive and move forward, then this will not bother you in the least. You simply want to do something positive and loving with no strings attached. You can always hope for things to improve, hope is a powerful emotion. Just be prepared, and don’t expect anything in return. The other person or people may need more time to understand what is going on.
When you forgive you in no way change the past…
But you sure do change the future
The Power of Forgiveness
Forgiveness is I think the most powerful thing we can do for another person and for ourselves.
Full forgiveness wipes away all the hurt and negative stories about the pain which allows you to connect better with who you really are. You are not your story, you are not your pain, you are so much more than this! Now you can start to be who you really are!
Not too long ago I asked someone I was once very close with, to forgive me. I did not expect that they would forgive me, but I still needed to ask for their forgiveness regardless of the outcome. When this person forgave me fully for what I had done to them, I went through yet another profound transformation. It completely ripped me wide open that they… could and did forgive me!
It blew me away and proved to me, the transformation healing power of forgiveness for not only the person who is forgiving but also for the person who is forgiven.
If you are holding any unforgiveness in your heart, perhaps it is time to start to live and be free.
If you have had to forgive anyone recently or have asked for forgiveness from anyone recently please share your thoughts and comments below. Maybe you have a question about how to forgive someone? Whatever it may be… I’d love to hear from you!