Aaah, forgiveness. We all have to do it, and unless you were born a fully enlightened being you probably have struggled with the idea of letting go of the wrongs that were done to you. In fact, one of the biggest spiritual questions people ask is ‘How exactly do I forgive?’
This simple 4-step process will help move you into a place where you can begin to release the pain, angst, and shame of your past and learn to let the power of love manifest more fully in your life
The Power of Forgiveness: 4 Keys to Letting Go of Hurt & Anger
“I have seen hatred and I have seen love. And love is more powerful.” – Immaculée Ilibagiza, survivor of Rwandan genocide
Start by Forgiving Yourself
“If we do not create inner peace, outer peace is not possible.” – Tsem Tulku
When we feel used and abused, this breeds resentments that can block our own happiness. We can feel as if we should have known better than to become entrapped by the other person’s negativity, and this can lead to self-defeating emotions such as anger and shame.
Forgiving yourself is a decision to clear away the guilt and shame that leads to limiting beliefs. It’s a mindset shift focused on congratulating yourself for having the courage to embrace life with open arms, even though it might not work out the way you plan. By celebrating yourself in this way, you are creating a more peaceful and loving inner environment for yourself. This leads you to attract more of this same positive and tranquil energy into your life.
Self-compassion also allows you to see the person you wish to forgive in a more objective light because you are no longer limited to only viewing your situation as ‘bad’ or ‘hopeless’. You can now start to see that there is a lesson to be learned from your experience that can help lead you towards forgiveness and as a result greater happiness.
Name One Positive Aspect about the Person Who You Are Trying to Forgive
This is the stage where a lot of people stop and say ‘no way’ for a time. That’s understandable. Hurt and anger tend to make this seem impossible. Yet by moving forward with this step, you actually get closer to learning the lesson that the person came into your life to teach you. The faster you learn this lesson, the faster the Universe stops sending it your way. This is also known as ‘breaking the cycle’, and it is a very a powerful step forward on the path to creating your own happiness.
“The Universe has shaken you to awaken you.” – Mastin Kipp
The best way to find a positive attribute about those who you are trying to forgive is to start small. Maybe the person who hurt you makes great buttered toast. Or perhaps they told a fantastic joke at the company party once. The point of this step isn’t to make them out to be a hero, but instead it is to help you refocus your thoughts back on the positive side of life. This helps you break the cycle of hurt, shame, and guilt by putting you back in charge of your own emotions.
Once you’re open to discovering one upside to the person who hurt you, you’re also ready to access one of the most powerful keys for living your best life ever.
Name One Lesson You Learned From the Person Who You Are Trying to Forgive
“Life is a classroom. Only those who are willing to be learners will move to the head of the class.” – Zig Ziglar
Tough situations caused by peoples’ carelessness aren’t meant to take up permanent residence in our souls, but the lessons they have to teach us about our own worth are. By finding the greater good in what happened to you, you are shifting the experience into something that happened for you.
Whether the lesson you learn is about finding a partner who supports your goals, or learning to stand up for yourself, choosing to be grateful for your greater wisdom, strength, and knowledge frees you from reliving your past hurts. It also empowers you by giving you greater insights into the people who surround you so that you can make better life choices moving forward.
Acknowledge the Difference Between Forgiveness and Reliving
Forgiveness is about you. Specifically, it is about you not having to relive your past hurts, pain, frustrations, and anger over and over again. Letting go and forgiving releases the other person’s hold over you. It is not meant to be an affirmation that they are free to continue their poor behavior, but instead it is a declaration that you will no longer let their past behavior negatively influence your life. In this way, you stand up for your right to enjoy an environment that’s filled with happiness, joy, and peaceful serenity.
This standing up for yourself is a great first step toward setting appropriate boundaries so that you can reduce the effects of any negativity other people may try to send your way in the future.
Take a listen as bestselling author and behavioral investigator Vanessa Van Edwards talks about some amazing social and scientific solutions to setting boundaries in your life…