Maybe it was a spouse who was unfaithful, a partner who abused you, or a parent who hurt you when you were a child, forgiveness is one of the most difficult hurdles many face. It truly seems impossible to “forgive and forget” as the saying goes. By forgiving, you let go of your grievances and judgments, and allow yourself to heal. Even if forgiveness seems impossible to you right now, moving towards it has an immense payoff. My clients and myself experience a great amount relief, sense of lightness, peace, and acceptance. This feeling of sweet surrender and softness is worth the challenge. I highly encourage you to take this on!
FORGIVENESS DOESN’T MEAN:
- You forget the incident and pretend it never happened.
- You decide to be ok with the other person’s hurtful actions or lack of action.
- You feel pressured to tell the person that he or she is forgiven.
- You become disconnected without any feelings about the situation.
- There is nothing further to work out in the relationship or that everything is okay now.
- You have to continue to include the person in your life.
- You should trust those who hurt us again without any work.
Forgiveness isn’t something you do for the other person, it’s something you do for yourself.
You may choose to forgive, but don’t let forgiveness stop you from your rights to healthy boundaries. Forgiveness is a process. The fact is, you cannot force forgiveness. And even if you want to forgive someone or yourself, you have to trust the process and trust yourself.
MANTRA: “I release from within me all bitterness and resentment little by little. I gently let go of old hurts and forgive everyone, including myself.”
To help you forgive you may want to choose what is the best next step:
- Write a letter: Doesn’t matter if you send it out or not, works also with people who past or you don’t want to confront.
- Confrontation: There is a need to voice your perception.
- Conversation: You are ready to talk, forgive, and apologize for your part. If you choose conversation, be clear on following:
- Your intention: What is your true intention for this forgiveness?
- Get authentic: Practice radical honesty when you express your opinion about what happened.
- Cost: What has this situation cost you?
- Apologize: Apologize for your part. Consider there are things that you contributed in some way to the situation. You may just say: “If there is anything I contributed to this conflict, I sincerely apologize.”
- Appreciate them: Find positive aspects about them.
- Make a commitment: What is your commitment to this relationship moving forward?
- Ask: Ask them what they want from this relationship?
WHEN FORGIVENESS IS SUCCESSFUL
I’m happy to say I was able to forgive my mom for difficulties experienced during my childhood after only a few, very emotional conversations. I used the above items in Step 3: Conversation during our interactions, which looked like this:
- Intention: My intention is to have deep, honest, and loving relationship with my mom moving forward.
- Get authentic: I understand the reasons for her behavior and way of parenting.
- Cost: This resentment cost me love and peace.
- Apologize: I apologize for not speaking up earlier and being stuck in my own resentment.
- Appreciate them: I see and recognize her effort to do the best she could with what she had.
- Make a commitment: Moving forward I commit to create more connection and love.
- Ask: Is there anything that you wish for in our relationship?
Today, four years later I do have a deeper relationship with my mom. Through the conversations she learned how I felt and I had a deeper understanding that she didn’t mean to really hurt me. Since then she started to listen more to what I have to say and I feel heard and respected now.. I know that my lesson in this conflict was for me to speak up in a way that is straightforward but compassionate, not caring about the outcome but still caring enough to generously listen.
Know that every situation, every conflict, every conversation is different. I still struggle to forgive other people who hurt me, such as my ex-husband. When I believed I’d reached a space of forgiveness, anger and grief suddenly shows up again. I’ve now learned to recognize this, smile at it, and be grounded in my reactions and judgments.
3 THINGS TO REMEMBER
When forgiveness seems impossible, remember these three things:
- Forgiveness doesn’t validate the person who hurt you, and it doesn’t justify their hurtful actions. However, we are all just the victims of the victims. The other party has a story to tell as well. Make space to listen and make space for yourself.
- Forgiving the other person is also a way to claim your own happiness and freedom. Forgiveness sets you free and releases pain, suffering, and hurt from your soul.
- The forgiveness we bestow upon others will help us live the life of grace we dreamed of.
PRAYER/MANTRA TO HELP YOU FORGIVE
I forgive those whom I think, feel, know, or believe have forsaken me or my heart.
I ask for forgiveness to those I have forsake or harmed.
I choose to be in a state of forgiveness for this helps me to have clarity and health in my life.
I have no fear in letting go of this suffering and un-forgiveness for it moves myself and the other forward out of pain.
I choose forgiveness as my mantra today.
I am forgiveness.
I allow myself to be forgiven.
I allow others to be forgiven.
I give up trying to control others.
Everyone is free.
Everyone has their own power to choose.
I set them free.
I choose to believe in love.
“Forgiveness is my function as the light of this world.”Acim
Would you like to explore this topic further? I encourage you to visit our Pillar 3 article for steps on emotional healing.
Wishing you love & forgiveness,