To forgive means to stop any feelings of anger or resentment towards others, yourself, or circumstance. The very essence of forgiving is to simply put whatever negative feelings aside, letting it go, and leaving it in the past.
There’s a good reason why religious and ancient teachings encourage the art of forgiveness. Can you imagine how many wars and human lives would be saved if we just learned to forgive? Can you imagine how much happiness and upliftment one would experience if they truly had forgiveness in their hearts, whether it’s towards themselves, others or certain situations? The ‘blood moon’ had just passed and it was really special, apparently there are prophecies of doom and gloom, but I’d like to think of it as a time to start anew, and what better way to start anew than with the tools and know-how of the art of forgiving.
Firstly, why should we learn to forgive at all? Many don’t even realize they need to forgive or it’s importance on their quality of life. With the power of forgiveness, we can end feelings of guilt, hurt, remorse, resentment and pain. True self-forgiveness can help you get past guilt and move forward without questions of doubt. How many times have you looked at the past with pain or thinking that some wrongdoing was done to you? Being able to forgive will help u leave the hurt and resentment in the past, where they belong.
The following is a step by step guide on how to forgive:
- Be conscious of whatever negative feelings come up from the situation, whether it’s anger, shame, guilt, hurt, pain etc. This is best done in a peaceful space as you may experience such feelings, like the physical reaction of crying or becoming violent, so definitely try to be in a safe and tranquil environment.
- Imagine you’re stepping away from such feelings and just letting them pass by. This may take awhile as some feelings associated with certain situations can be really strong, and so their pull is very real, , ie/ abuse, infidelity, death, etc. A lot of the times we identify with such negativity, such as when a loved one hurts you – one thinks, ‘I AM hurt or in pain’, or a loved one passes away, ‘I AM sad or in mourning’. In such cases, it’s better to think, ‘I FEEL hurt, pain, sadness, etc’. Another common way of identifying with such feelings is that we use the excuse, ‘I’m only human’, and so the belief system that such negativity is a part of us is ingrained. To overcome this, we need to remind ourselves that we are human BEINGS; ‘beings’ refers to our consciousness, that there is something beyond our human forms and feelings. It’s our ‘beings’ that experience such feelings, ie/ it’s my ‘being’ that feels hurt or pain. This step is a matter of turning on a switch, ‘I AM consciousness/being and not these feelings’, but this step is also a matter of practice as certain situations and the feelings that come with them can constantly pull you in.
- Once you’re able to step away from negative feelings and into your consciousness, build a distance between yourself and the negativity. Often people believe that ‘time heals’, and this phrase can be very helpful in building this distance. But it’s not helpful when we let time passively go by, and so this phrase can be misleading. Time itself is not what heals, rather, it’s what our consciousness does during that time which ‘heals’ itself. There are two ways in which our consciousness can build this distance: First, your consciousness must believe in its ‘higher’ role. This is where spirituality can be really helpful as the idea of a God or higher purpose can really uplift one’s ‘being’, but if you’re not spiritual, the thinking that you’re a ‘being’ acting a certain role can also be effective. Basically, you’re giving yourself a pep talk and reminding yourself that the negativity and the situations are drama on a play you’re acting out. You are the best actor/actress for this role, in reality, this is true as no one else will probably have your unique situation. Only you, your being, has this speciality of playing your role in this life’s drama, take this speciality of yours and move into the current scene or the next. The purpose of this way of thinking is to elevate your consciousness/being above the heaviness of what’s going on to further the distance between yourself and the negativity. The second way to build this distance is by anchoring your consciousness onto positivity. This requires an active effort, like casting out your anchor to somewhere stable and making a few attempts, ie/ looking for the positive qualities in the person you had a conflict with, or, believing in that a tragic event is teaching you a very valuable lesson. This is also important because this anchors your ‘being’ unto its positive qualities of love, happiness, peace, knowledge, power, etc. It’s key to anchor oneself in these positive qualities and actively identify and experience them, even if it’s the tiniest aspect.Imagine this step as an exercise for your intellect, and just like exercise, the more you practice a movement, the better you get at it. This is probably the one stage that needs constant repetition and multiple attempts, but empowering the intellect, which is the gatekeeper to our ‘beings’ is definitely worth exercising.
- Once a sizeable, safe distance has been established between you and the negativity, you can now transform that negative memory in the past into something positive. This is where the phrase, ‘Forgive and Forget’, comes in. Although it’s not possible to actually forget, when we truly forgive, we can remember such event with only endearment and strength, meaning that we have ‘forgotten’ or let go of any negative feelings we had about it. Once your consciousness is set in the identity of a ‘being’ acting out its role in this worldly stage drama and you are firm in your innate positive qualities, you can also look at others as beings simply acting out their parts in the drama as well. By doing so, not only do you develop compassion and mercy for yourself but for others as well, not to mention, this gives you the viewpoint of looking at the events as if they’re part of a movie/play you’re acting in. Every scene in the movie you are in has it’s reason. The other actors you’re playing the scene with are just like you, ‘beings’ acting out their roles. With this line of thinking, you are able to develop compassion and mercy for yourself and others, and accept the situation with wisdom and detachment. Such state is true forgiveness and the ultimate exercise of empowerment.
As you can see, this is quite an involved process, which may take time (weeks and months) to get through each step. Also, this is a very introspective process which only you can take alone in silence, however, guidance from a professional or someone with an unbiased objective can also help. Often we search for answers, peace, and justice externally especially when a major challenge comes up. Questions of ‘why did he/she betray me’, ‘why did this have to happen’, etc, or looking for apologies, others owning up to their mistakes, or looking for others to correct the situation, or on a bigger scale, looking for ‘justice to be served’. All of this will come up in the first step of being conscious of our own feelings, because after it’s all said and done, after the culprit said their apologies or justice was served (or not served), the only thing we are left with is our feelings. We may never understand why a tragedy had to happen or what was this person thinking to do such an injustice, and a lot of the times, even if we had the answers, they’re not enough to make the feelings go away. This four step process of learning to forgive, letting go, and then rising above is a great tool to use, especially when it seems like we get stuck with certain feelings we’re not even aware that they hold us back.
Thank you for getting this far! please feel free to contact me if you have any questions as this was a heavy topic to tackle… I may have to breakdown a few more examples in the future blog posts.