This week we cover five ways you can practice forgiveness, and give yourself the gift of freedom.
1. Feel Your Pain (and Understand Forgiveness)
Forgiveness is defined as the act of forgiving others or being forgiven, it is a change from a negative to a positive or neutral standpoint over a perceived or actual wrong. It is important when someone hurts us to feel our feelings of pain. If you try and bypass feeling hurt, resentment is likely to linger and will come up later. Pain can manifest in different ways such as guilt, grief, shame, sorrow, confusion, or anger. When these feelings arise ask yourself what you need in that moment whether that is self care, support, exercise to release energy, or a recovery meeting. A misunderstanding about forgiveness is that you may be letting someone off the hook for something they did and making the transgression “ok”, however forgiveness is about releasing the pain and emotion from your heart and mind, and moving forward in your life. The experience of forgiveness is one of the most healing things that you can do for yourself, setting yourself free from the bonds that tie you to the other person.
2. Practice Mindfulness
When practicing mindfulness the mind has a chance to quiet and clear negative thoughts that cloud judgement and perspective. Seeing things from a clear mindset helps pave the way for forgiveness.
A Mini Forgiveness Practice:
Try this short practice once a day and feel your forgiveness muscles growing.
Think of someone who has caused you pain (to start, maybe not the person who has hurt you most) and you’re holding a grudge against. Visualize the time you were hurt by this person and feel the pain you still carry. Hold tightly to your unwillingness to forgive. Now, observe what emotion is present. Is it anger, resentment, sadness? Use your body as a barometer and notice physically what you feel. Are you tense anywhere, or do you feel heavy? Next, bring awareness to your thoughts; are they hateful, spiteful, or something else?
Really feel this burden associated with the hurt that lives inside you, and ask yourself:
“Who is suffering?
Have I carried this burden long enough?
Am I willing to forgive?”
If the answer is no, that’s OK. Some wounds need more time than others to heal.
If you are ready to let it go now, silently repeat: “Breathing in, I acknowledge the pain. Breathing out, I am forgiving and releasing this burden from my heart and mind.”
Continue this process for as long as it feels supportive to you. (Source)