“Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness.” - Marianne Williamson
What Is The Meaning Of “Forgiveness?”
The latin root word “perdonare” means to pardon or more literally “to present, give or bestow through or by means of.” When we pardon someone for a hurt or injury, we are actually bestowing a gift to ourselves.
You don’t have to drink the poison. Holding grudges and resentments against others only hurts one person: you. When you hold onto pain, whether real or perceived, the pain changes chemicals in your brain and those changes alter your body in negative ways.
5 Reasons To Forgive
• You’ll be happier and more at peace
• You’ll be more loving to the people in your life which fosters stronger relationships
• You’ll have a stronger sense of well-being, both emotionally and mentally
• You’ll release stress by letting go of past resentments
• Your health will be positively affected by releasing stuck pain and resentment
How To Forgive Someone
First, it’s important to recognize that forgiveness doesn’t mean you condone the other person’s behavior and it doesn’t mean that you must continue a relationship with the person who hurt you. All forgiveness really means is letting go of the pain so you don’t carry it with you in your life.
The first step in forgiveness is accepting the present pain. Can you sit with the pain, allow the emotions to surface and go through the process of grieving? You’ll find something very unexpected once you give yourself permission to “feel” the pain instead of pushing it down or denying it. Suddenly, a bit a space appears between the pain and the situation. Some people feel pain in their gut or tightness in the belly that slightly constricts breathing. Sit quietly and just say “I feel (insert feeling here) right now.” It’s important for you to remain present during this practice. If you find your mind revisits the hurtful situation of the past or you feel anxious about what will happen in the future, come back to the present and focus all of your attention on how you feel.
The second step in forgiveness is focusing on the facts. What actually happened, how you reacted, and how this affected you? This step is not meant to relive the pain, but offers an opportunity for priceless personal and spiritual growth if you so desire. You might even recognize a pattern in relationships, or a way you respond that needs adjusting for healthier, happier future relationships, or it might trigger your need to make a big change in your life. Remain open to learning something about yourself that you can take with you. Every person, event and situation in your life is a teaching moment.
The third step in forgiveness is actually letting go of the pain. Take a deep breath and fill yourself up with loving feelings. Then, release the hurt, the anger and the fear. Just let it go. Repeat this process. Once you feel calm, think of the person who hurt you, hold him or her in your heart. See them as the fallible human they are, just like you. Visualize yourself tossing all of the negative feelings about the situation and the person in a basket attached to a large red balloon (or whatever color you like). When you’re done, really let it all go. Maybe you’ll even feel a bit of compassion for the other person. Either way, you will no longer be bogged down by the past pain and you will be free and open to love.
When you forgive someone, you are actually making room in you for more love and better experiences to come into your life. You are giving yourself a gift – a gift that will be so much greater than any pain you could hold onto. For more information on forgiveness, see:
The Importance of Forgiveness by: Louise Hay
Can You Forgive? by: Sharon Salzberg
3 Tools To Help You Forgive Someone by: Iyanla Vanzant
Where To Start
Author Marianne Williamson has been a spiritual friend and counselor to Oprah for many years, and her advice has sometimes taken Oprah by surprise. Wa
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