After leaving my marriage and diving deeper into the journey of self-love, I was ambushed by many different, uncomfortable emotions. For the most part, I was not prepared to give attention to or even experience them.
A lot of these dreadful thoughts and emotions were deeply seeded with anger and guilt. I wasn’t aware I had harbored so much of this from the depths of my being. If I wanted to create a happier and more beautiful life, I knew what I had to do: process and make peace, forgive, and make space in my life for freedom.
It was then that I realized forgiveness is one of the most difficult tasks we’ll ever have to deal with. While many people glamourize the concept of forgiveness, it’s quite a challenge in carrying it out. It’s so much easier to stay angry and resentful, to keep hating the other person. I mean, come on, we deserve some kind of justification, right? Someone needs to be punished?
False, false, and false.
Although it may seem easier to stay angry, resentment destroys the lightness and joy in our lives. We start to become bitter, cold, cynical, and closed off. What we really need is freedom and healing from the wound that someone caused us.
If our goal is to create healing, peace, and happiness, we must strive to do the work behind the act of forgiveness. We must truly understand what it really requires. As I detail in my memoirs, that is exactly what I committed to so I could finally be happy once and for all.
Most people think forgiveness is for the other person, when in reality, forgiveness is for ourselves. Forgive and let go, because YOU love yourself enough to let go of something that no longer honors you. Because YOU love yourself enough to allow yourself freedom from all that pain and hurt. However, understanding all this still doesn’t help release all the emotional baggage, which ultimately keeps many of us from completing the act of forgiveness.
We might logically understand why someone has hurt us, but still not be able to release the emotions of hate, anger and resentment. Time is a good start in helping heal wounds, and we can follow these simple steps to take control and speed up the process of forgiveness.
Zoom out and locate where your pain is coming from.
Stop, take a deep breath, and step back from the situation. Zoom out and take a look at the situation as a whole. Identify where your hurt lies and what deep emotional chords this situation may have rung.
Learn and understand.
Ask yourself why it hurt you and do your best to learn the emotional block it is associated with. Learn why it’s so difficult for you to let go of the pain it caused. Then, take a look at the other person and step into their shoes. Do your best to look at the situation from their perspective without bias or judgment. What fears or insecurities of theirs might be they be projecting?
After doing your best to learn the other person, have compassion for who they are as another human being here on Earth. They are also trying to feel loved and be loved like you are. A lot of people will project their own fears and insecurities towards others due to feeling unloved and this may be the root of their negative actions toward you.
Surrender, forgive, and let go.
Be brave and make the conscious decision to forgive and to let go. Know that when you do this, you are not only setting the other person free, you are setting yourself free. Forgiveness is for you, not for anyone else because it sets you free from hurt that no longer serves or honors you. When you forgive and let go, you are loving yourself enough to give yourself peace.
Send the other person peace and love.
Do the work to heal and grow from the experience. Remind yourself that we are all human and that sometimes we make mistakes. If the other person is unwilling to grow from it, that’s not your responsibility, it’s not your karma. Send the other person peace and love, and then let go and move on.
The act of forgiveness is definitely one of the most challenging tasks we face. However, if we make the conscious effort to choose to be free from all the hurt and negative emotions, it becomes a little easier to do the work of forgiveness.
In my new book, A Little Bit of Grace, I share my truths about how I dealt with forgiveness towards the people in my life. Many experiences from my past led me to fall to rock bottom. Learning to make peace and forgive in each one of those experiences, and the people involved, led me to the beautiful life I’d always dreamed of. These stories illustrate how the steps of forgiveness come into play and how important it is to remember that forgiveness is really about you and no one else.