forgiveness — nine ways

Hurt, betrayal, disappointment, abuse, humiliation, criticism.

At times, this adventure called life can be a rough one.

If we are unable to move into a space of healing with these experiences they often fester into resentment, self-loathing, dissociation, revenge & numbing {my drug of choice in the past was Ben & Jerry’s}.

Forgiveness is a muscle that brings strength to all areas of life.

But.

Forgiveness is a complex concept, like love or freedom.

It seems to me the biggest obstacle in forgiveness is translating the concept into embodiment.

It’s one thing to understand why forgiveness is a good thing {it is liberating for all involved}. But translating the concept into the genuine feeling of forgiveness is usually much more difficult.

Here are a few thoughts to guide you into forgiveness.

  1. Give yourself time. It is necessary to create space to heal, reflect & process after being hurt. When your psyche is aching & your feelings are chaotic give yourself time to breathe & recover.
  2. Write down the feelings of hurt. Acknowledge them, honor them & burn them.
  3. Write down the lessons & insight you’ve gathered as a result of the experience. Reflect on how you will integrate the lessons into your life moving forward.
  4. Reflect on what the other person’s behaviors set off in you. Did their actions trigger you into feeling not good enough? If the answer is yes, there is a beautiful opportunity to bring healing & consciousness to the thing they triggered.
  5. Typically, what we are feeling is created by what we are telling ourselves about the situation. Notice the story you are telling yourself about the experience. See if you can tell a story that is based in love instead of fear.
  6. Practice gratitude {cliché, but can be super helpful}.
  7. Don’t practice gratitude. Instead of trying to change the way you are feeling, simply notice the feelings and be with them. Practice being the observer of your feelings. Where do they live in your body? How old do they feel? How intense are they? What colour are they? When you witness them, do they change?
  8. Instead of forgiving, try understanding. What has the person who wronged you experienced in life? What would they have to feel inside in order to do what they did? What circumstances in life led them to the moment they hurt you? Trying saying to yourself  ‘of course this person did ____________. Considering everything that has happened in their life, how could they have done anything different?’
  9. Consider that you might not actually have to ‘do’ forgiveness. Perhaps it’s something that can just ‘be’ once you understand your thoughts and feelings about the experience and how the behavior of the other was rooted in the their own wounds & suffering.

We are all doing the best we can, with what we know & with the tools we have.

When we know better we do better.

Sometimes, realizing there’s nothing to forgive allows us to genuinely release the experience.