Forgiveness is a decision to let go of negative, low frequency emotions such as anger, resentment, bitterness or thoughts of revenge. Ignoring the need to forgive and release negative emotions may prevent spiritual development or even cause physical or emotional illness. Carrying the burden of emotions from being wronged may make you feel like a victim, unable to enjoy the present.
Practice forgiveness and you may begin to feel peace, happiness, empathy and compassion. An easy way to understand this is the phrase “walk a mile in their shoes.” When forgiving with empathy and compassion you may find it is easier to take that first step. Forgive yourself of the wrongs you may have done. You will feel a greater sense of worthiness and find yourself connecting to true compassion with greater ease. The following are some tips on practicing forgiveness:
- Forgiveness doesn’t mean you deny the other person’s responsibility for hurting you and it doesn’t minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the behavior.
- For whatever reason the other person may no longer be available to you. Forgiveness may be beneficial if you visualize the person, tell them how you were hurt, release negative emotions and forgive.
- You may be able to mend a relationship with someone you value. However, forgiveness is possible even when reconciliation is not.
- There may also be instances where the other person is not willing to accept your forgiveness. Think of forgiveness and how it can change your life. Release the control and power the offender had in your life.
- The memory of the behavior which hurt or offended you may always remain a part of your life. Forgiveness may lessen its negative grip and help you focus on other, positive aspects of living.
- And what if you are the one who needs forgiveness? The first step is to honestly recognize the hurt you may have caused and how your behavior or words affected others. Take it easy on yourself! You are human and humans make mistakes. Consider talking to those you may have offended. Speak of your regret and ask for forgiveness without making excuses. Keep in mind you cannot force someone to forgive you. Others need to move to forgiveness in their own time.
So, the act of forgiveness with all its benefits is a step toward loving and healing yourself as well as others. Are you ready to let go of old hurts? Then it may be time to practice forgiveness!