Those who hurt you have power over you for as long as you are unable or unwilling to forgive. They occupy space in your mind,and play with your emotions.
Forgiving wrongs done to you gives you an opportunity to grow and heal. But forgiveness is not simple,it’s a complex process. For some people,professional help is required.Others can do it on their own.Below is a series of steps to help you forgive others. Implementating these ideas may be all you need.
Steps To Forgiving Others
Step 1: Make The Decision
It is essential that you first make the decision that you want to forgive the one who injured you. This is a courageous, heroic choice.
Step 2: Take Responsibility
Realize that it is your responsibility to heal yourself. Nobody else can do it for you. Unforgiveness saps your energy and may even make you ill.Studies have shown that heart attacks and cancer can be linked to the retention of anger and resentment.
Step 3 : Confront Your Pain
Journal about your pain and who you want to forgive.Confront and recognise your hurt. Allow someone else to validate your pain; a good friend,partner,pastor or therapist. When you receive emphathy and compassion,you can heal faster.
Step 4: Take A New Perspective
Be willing to find a new perspective about the person who wronged you.This is not condoning the behavior or making excuses for the person. The fact is that people hurt other people because they have been hurt themselves. They act out of their own pain. Ask yourself
• What was their life like growing up?
• What was their life like at the time of the offense?
These two questions will help you understand the behavior of the person who hurt you,where he/she is coming from and why he /she acted as they did. You will be able to forgive others by seperating them from their behavior.
Step 5: Acknowledge Your Part
Acknowledge the part you have played in the wrong doing,if any. This will help move you from being a victim to taking some responsibility. Forgive yourself for this part.( In some situations,in a brutal rape for example,you would be completely innocent and in no way responsible)
Step 6: Learn From The Pain
Seek to learn from your pain inorder to stop any reoccurence in the future. Did you gain anything in your life as a result of this pain?
Step 7: The Total Truth Letter
When you are ready,use the Total Truth template and write a letter to the offender.There’s no need to mail it.Express your thoughts clearly and honestly,starting with your anger.Write about how the offender hurt you. Get mad. Allow yourself to fully express your feelings. Anger is the place to start. Then follow the steps through hurt,fear,regret,and wants to forgiveness. This is where you will find emotional completion.
Step 8 : Closure
You can use the letter symbolically to bring closure to the forgiveness cycle.Some people like to bury or burn it,others like to tear it into pieces and let the wind take it away. Create a ceremony which is meaningful to you. Close your eyes and see the link between you and the offender being severed. You are now freed from this memory.Visualize the person you are forgiving being sorrounded by the love of forgiveness.
Step 9 : Release Expectations
Let go of any expectations you have for the offender. Forgiveness may not lead to reconciliation,that may be desirable but it is not a requirement.Forgiveness does not depend upon repentance by the offender. In reconciliation,both the victim and the injurer need to be mutually committed,and this may not happen. You may not choose to share the fact that you have forgiven him or her,let alone express this in a face-to-face setting. If you do choose to share your forgiveness,check your intentions,making sure they come from love,not pain.
Step 10 : Practice Forgiving
Think of forgiveness not so much as an act,but as a lifestyle. Make a practice of forgiving.As soon as you realize you are injured,forgive. You will feel freer and healthier.Conserve your energy for living rather than wasting it on resentment and pain.When you can see the hurt child in others,it enables you to forgive faster.
Step 11: Give Thanks
Last,but certainly not least,you can ask God to help you forgive. He is deeply concerned about your wellbeing.
Four Reasons To Forgive
• To heal your body- eliminate your toxics thoughts and anger.
• To heal your heart-Let go of thoughts of revenge,or feelings of ill-will,and begin to love unconditionally.
• To heal your relationship-explore the potential for reconciliation or re-connection.•To heal your life,pain should not define you.