Forgiveness: The best gift you can give yourself
How do you forgive someone who has hurt you badly? For most of us the answer is “with difficulty”. But it can be done.
We feel the pain most when someone has put their own needs and desires ahead of ours; when they have acted without thought of the consequences nor heeded the outcome of their actions. This hits hard at our most vulnerable spot — our self-esteem.
If you are not valued by another, it’s easy to feel it’s because you are not good enough; that you have been stupid to put your trust in the hands of someone who is irresponsible or thoughtless; or that you are the victim of another person’s arrogance, ego or lack of care. You find yourself living with a cocktail of emotions — humiliation, grief, hurt, shame and distrust, a difficult mixture to dissolve.
These energies of resentment and bitterness for past hurts are often considered to be poison. And it’s true; if you do not forgive the person or people who have offended you then you are in fact holding venom and toxins within yourself that over time will affect you mentally and physically as well as emotionally.
Another thing to notice: every time you think back to that experience in your past you are filled with the pain of it again and again. You know that as you hold on, you are creating more suffering.
So, how can you accept? How can you forgive? How can you let go those emotions? How can you get on with your life?
I have discovered there is one key element to begin any change and that is intention: this kicks off the change, it’s the engine that pulls you forward on the journey of recovery.
You have to start by making the choice to reclaim your life.
Then you need the determination to open your mind to new thoughts, with the will to release completely those negative thoughts and feelings, and finally to make the decision to accept that you cannot change the past.
The ultimate act in the process of forgiveness is the opening of your heart to accept what has happened and to see what you can retrieve from the debris. Is there anything that you can claim? Maybe a better understanding of yourself or of human nature. Maybe some level of new wisdom. Maybe an understanding that you have an inner strength and resilience that you were not aware you had. As you walk the path of forgiveness, alone — for no one can do this for you — maybe you can feel more independent, more self-sufficient.
I am a great believer in using and boosting my own strength, my own personal powers of determination with the powers of universal energies, be they directly from God, angels, or the universe (or whomever you pray to). I also find simple rituals helpful. Here is a process I use for letting go the past, which has helped me and many of my clients.
Step One: Call in the help of your spiritual guide, master or the energies of the universe (or whomever you feel most comfortable with in prayer) to help you.
Step Two: Write down everything you are still feeling about the situation, the person or organisation that harmed you. The energy of your emotions will now pass to the paper.
Step Three: Burn this in a ceremony. As you watch the paper burn, see how the darkness of your feelings turn into light in the flame.
Step Four: Tie a cotton thread around your wrist to symbolise the bonds of the past still holding you. If you are filled with anger towards someone this in itself is a cord that ties you to the person and the past.
Step Five: Break the thread and say out loud, “I cut the cords to the past and release myself”.
Step Six: Make a list of every lesson, every benefit you can possibly gain from the experience.
Step Seven: If you enjoy a drink, now might be the time to pour a glass of wine otherwise make yourself a nice cup of tea!
Consolation for grief of loss
If your pain comes from the loss of someone you love through the cruelty or lack of care of another, you will be hurting especially hard. However, you will have the spirit of your loved one still in your heart — you always will, because spirit is not like a physical being and can be anywhere at any time. This can be in heaven, on earth and in your heart concurrently. I know and find comfort in the fact that the spiritual energy of my friends and family who have passed is still in my heart and memories of shared moments are in my head, in my mind and they cannot be erased.
Forgive but don’t forget
Whatever the cause of the hurt, forgive to release yourself from the bitter bonds and toxic emotions but remember the good times.
If your hurt was caused by giving your heart to someone who treated it with disrespect then learn the lesson of discernment. But however it has been, step forward with an open heart for the best of your future and a determination to live the rest of your life free of the worst of your past.
Bless you and go well, and remember forgiveness is a powerful healing you can give to yourself.
This article was originally published on Anne Jone’s personal blog and has been republished with permission.