Forgiveness And Letting Go - Tips And Help
The Choice To Forgive Is Yours
When you think of all the people in your life whose behavior bothers you, you're bound to be overwhelmed by the enormity of the task of forgiveness. You may ask yourself, " how do I deal with a challenge like this?" There are two ways to look at the forgiveness process.
1. As an impossible task.
2. As a fascinating challenge.
The choice is yours. You have free-will to do as you like but consider the following:
As a man thinks, so he is, and as a man chooses, so is he and so is his nature. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essay, "Spiritual Laws."
Why bother to forgive others in the first place? You may be wondering "what's in it for me?" if you do decide to forgive and let go. After all, forgiving others is just about the hardest thing in the world to do.
But help is on the way and I'm going to help you through the forgiveness process. Together we will learn how to let go of the past and celebrate the future.
Tips And StepsTo Forgiveness
- Tear down those walls. Do you pray for God's favor and yet hold on to grudges? That's like asking God for a happier life while you carry a large bag of hate around. You can't enjoy happiness while holding on to anger. This behavior will block your dreams from coming true.
- Move Forward. Turn your scars into stars. You can do this if you're willing to forgive. Hanging on to past hurts and unfair treatment will do nothing for your future. It will only hold you back.
- Forget Payback. Don't go around trying to pay everyone back for the injustices done to you. Yes, it's natural to feel bad about being lied to or betrayed. You're not expected to be a rock that can't be penetrated. But forget about seeking revenge.
- Return good for evil. We need to be kind to people and do good even when they are unkind to us. This isn't easy to do but with practice it's possible. We can all learn to return good for evil. Now I'm not suggesting we become a doormat for anyone but do your best to be a peacemaker. .
- Make a commitment with yourself now to do what you need to do to feel better. Once you've practiced forgiving those that have caused you anger and pain your burden will feel lighter.
- Stop mentally playing your hurt. Use your positive energy to accomplish your goals instead.
- It's about them, not you. Forgiveness comes easier when you remember that when someone hurts you by deed or verbally, it's about them and not you. Try not to take things personally.
- Forgiveness is healing. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, let go of your excuses and allow your emotional wounds to heal.
Bernie Siegel, M.D. gives us the following wise advice:
"Forgiveness is a method for giving love. It is a way of saying, "I am going to let go of the wrong you did; I am not going to be bitter and I am going to go on loving you anyway." Forgiveness allows us to go on loving and to begin healing. It is in for-giving that we receive."
Forgiving Others Isn't Easy
The point is, forgiveness isn't really about the other person, it's about you. The other guy may never know or even care whether or not you've forgiven him. He'll go about living his life anyhow not affected one way or the other.
But you will continue to burden yourself and your life by reliving the past offense again and again. Each time you do this, you are single-handedly punishing your own body and mind. Why would you do this to yourself?
You can' possibly live a happy life and be free unless you learn to forgive. Bitterness sets in and poisons and imprisons us when we hold on to anger and grudges. Forgiveness is the key to freedom and joy. You must forgive the people that hurt you. Does this mean you condone their behavior and actions? Heck no!
Is it easy to forgive others? Good grief no - not at all. In fact it's the most difficult thing to do.
This is why I'm writing this article. And I'm as guilty as you when it comes to holding on to past hurts. You and I deserve a life filled with joy, peace and harmony. We can truly have this just as soon as we forgive and let go.
Forgiving Yourself Is Healthy
The biggest obstacle to self-forgiveness is the tendency to serve ourselves a big plate of guilt.
This is even more difficult than forgiving others. We have a tendency to wallow in our own guilt, punishing ourselves before anyone else can. When hard times come we take it as a form of self-punishment and depression soon follows. We feel miserable for the rest of our lives because of course we deserve to.
Fred Luskin, PhD, director of the Stanford University Forgiveness Project has this to say: "When we make the decision to feel miserable for the rest of our lives, this can have tragic consequences. For one thing misery loves company. If you continue beating yourself up, then the person who is trying to love you gets beat up too. This includes your spouse, children, parents, friends and even your dog and pets. Everyone around you suffers."
Your health is also at risk when you feel miserable. Studies have shown that when we have a problem forgiving others:
- Our heart rate increases
- Our blood pressure goes up
- Our digestion is disrupted
- Our muscles cramp and spasm
- We experience depression.
As you forgive others in your life you also forgive yourself.
Bitterness Devours And Destroys
Bitterness is a poison and makes our life bitter. Our thoughts become bitter, our words are bitter and our attitude is bitter. Being bitter never improves a situation. Our health is at risk when we hold bitterness within. It serves no purpose at all. Resentment ruins our life as it takes control consuming us and robbing us.
We want to see the other person punished for the pain they have caused us or our loved ones. We want and deserve revenge and even use good and bad karma to heal our wounds. Tell me, is this love?
It's impossible to live in a relationship where we won't be hurt at one time or the other. We are all human beings, not robots. Give yourself permission to make mistakes and give others the same permission. Bitterness can be dispelled with love.
Hurtful Feelings - Questions To Consider
Do you hold a grudge? Love does not hold a grudge.
- Are you easily offended or resentful?
- Do you get your feelings hurt about everything?
- Do you keep a mental record of how others have hurt you?
- Do you keep count of everything others do wrong?
Studies show that 95 percent of the time, when people hurt our feelings it wasn't intentional. People don't lay awake at night trying to figure out ways to offend us. In fact, most of the time others are even interested in us. It's our poisoned pride that keeps us hanging on to the list of judgments we make on others.
All the prayer and meditation we do to help us be a more loving person is a waste of time as long as we refuse to forgive others.
Forgiveness is a process. It's all about constant, diligent practice. The process never stops. Forgiveness is a tool that helps us move on and let the past go. The art of forgiving is a gift. When is the last time you've used this valuable tool?
Remember the following as you practice forgiveness:
- Don't be a prisoner of the past.
- The courageous forgive, the weak do not.
- Forgive yourself and stop beating yourself up.
- Instead of dwelling on past mistakes think about all the good things you've done. Maybe you were a bad mother but you can be a great and marvelous grandmother.
- Allow emotional wounds to heal.
- Let go of bitterness. Once the bitter root is gone, you'll be able to break free of your past. Joel Osteen
- Today can be a new beginning.
- Turn your scars into stars. Keep moving forward.
- It's during the tough times that we find out what we're really made of.
Remember the word "give" in the word forgiveness. Be a giver. Go out and help somebody else in need. Ask yourself the question, "Who can I bless today?" You can always be a blessing to someone else in some way.
Fred Luskin, PhD, director of the Stanford University Forgiveness Project
Joel Osteen, author of Starting Your Best Life Now
Arnold M. Patent, author of You Can Have It All
Bernie Siegel M.D. Author of Prescription For Living
How hard is it for you to forgive others?
A Big Thanks To You
Thank you for being here. You've taken time out of your busy schedule to read my article. I'd love to hear how you feel about forgiveness. Please feel free to leave a few words in the comment section.
Questions & Answers
© 2015 Audrey Hunt