Distrust, anger, frustration, depression, restlessness and others are forms of being that restrict peace in our lives. It’s amazing how many physical symptoms manifest from lack of motion in areas of our life that are crying out for change. And few areas scream for change and healing like forgiveness. Forgiveness healing is not about releasing yourself or the other person from accountability, but about allowing yourself to move on from the transgression. Choosing not to forgive is playing the victim and as we have stated before, being the victim is surrendering your power to change your condition.
Yes, there may be some things in your past that you still carry anger for, and perhaps you feel justified in this anger, but carrying that anger toxifies your life, not the life of the other person. I once heard a metaphor that choosing to not forgive is like driving your car around on a hot day with the windows rolled up and filled with other peoples rotting garbage. You are living with their stink and all you need to do is pull over and get out.
Three Steps to Forgiveness
The first step is to be willing to let it go. If you unwilling to release the transgression, then peace will not come. If all you can see is your “correct-ness” or their “wrong-ness” in the situation, or your need for vengeance, then you have not reached a place where you are ready to let it go. If you are tired of living with it, saddened by the loss of a friend or simply over being upset about it, then you are ready to find a release. Sometimes we just want to be angry because we want to be angry, and that is okay. Just do your best not to splash your attitude on and around others while you sit in your pity-party. It’s your party and you can sit there a long as you like, but know the longer you sit, the more you live with the pain and the stress and the less you move on. Be very aware that there are those around you who will gleefully help you stew in your pain, affirm your “correctness” and generally keep you from healing under the guise of supporting you. These people are rarely thinking from their highest realm of being and will do their best to keep you thinking on a lower plane.
The second step is to become aware that none of us know the full picture. There is always more to any event than we are allowed to see. I like to say that there are three sides to a story, your side, their side and the truth. Knowing that neither of you know the full truth can go a long way to helping you release. Perhaps you don’t know what the other person had going on in their life at the time. Or maybe they had a traumatic experience in their past that this event reminded them of and they lashed out. Or perhaps, your actions were actually out of line and you just could not see it. Regardless, know that you don’t know the entire story, and neither do they. The past cannot be undone, but present conditions can be healed.
The third step in finding forgiveness is seeking to find what buttons have been pushed in you. What was triggered and why was it triggered? Find the button , then look for the source of why the button is there in the first place. Peace work is about repairing YOU, not about attempting to fix others.
When you are ready for step three, here is an exercise you can try:
Find a quite place, perhaps your favorite meditation or reading space, sit in a calm stillness and breath, just breath. Focus only on your breath until you feel calmed. Now the work can begin. Let’s look at how you could have handled tins differently. We will look at what your part was in the situation and what you could have done differently. Remember, we can only change our own reactions, our own mindset and our own actions. We cannot change the thoughts and actions of others. That is up to them and them only.
Go back to where you think things began to go awry. What was said or done by the other person that you reacted to in a harsh manner? Why did you react that way? What caused those emotions to boil up inside you? Bear in mind that our reactions today are a result of our past experiences – your present reactions often have little to do with the current situation and everything to do with something that happened in your past. You have been “trained” to react a certain way and if we can uncover this, we can release it to a new and better truth of who you are. Now go through that scene in your head again and look for ways you could have handled it differently. from a place of higher wisdom rather than pure instinctual reaction. What might the other person have said if you had phrased things differently? Move through the situation in your head using these steps of discovery. I am not asking you to take full responsibility, as I believe that all persons involved will have some level of contribution, but please don’t look for what the other person did wrong, just look for how you could have handled it better. Remember we are looking to empower YOU to become better.
These confrontations are an opportunity for us to remember our true nature – that of a loving spirit having a human experience. Sometimes our humanness just steps in the way.
As you discover ways that you could have reacted differently, you naturally begin to heal your heart. You begin to understand that you can choose to see it as the other person and the event have shown up in your life as a teacher. You can choose to learn from it. You can choose to grow from it. You can choose to see higher potential for your life in how you react in future events. You can choose to come out of this a better person!
You may have an amazing healing the first time around, or your healing may require several “sessions” before you get there. Just know that you WILL get there. The bonus: as you work through your forgiveness, you will find you need to forgive less often. There will naturally be fewer transgressions in your life, in part because you no longer look for them in your life, and in part because you see how minor most transgressions really are and they no longer trigger you.
“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.”
Fell free to share your paths to find forgiveness with our readers in the comments below.