Last week I talked about the connection between forgiveness and judgment. To sum it up quickly, when we experience judgment about what someone says or doesn’t say or about what someone did or didn’t do, we end up with feelings of resentment, anger, and bitterness. To release these feelings, we simply have to be willing to forgive. It is that simple, just forgive and let it go. Right?
Well, simple does not mean easy which is why so many people struggle with forgiveness. It’s not easy. We’re human. But each time we remember the hurt we experienced at the time of the transgression we have the feelings all over again and we suffer again. We suffer anger, resentment, or bitterness. Just typing those words leaves me feeling deflated.
Therein lies the problem, the emotions involved with the situation can be very powerful. So, to heal we begin with the decision that we are ready to feel better, to stop feeling anger, resentment, or bitterness.
Ultimately how you feel is a choice. Even if you’ve been dealing with the situation for many, many years, only you can decide if you are ready to forgive. So, you must ask yourself, “Am I ready stop feeling emotion toward insert name ?” If you are ready to stop suffering, the next question to ask yourself is, “How do I want to feel instead?” Focus on HOW you want to feel. A word that comes to my mind is peace. It’s very helpful to write your responses in your journal.
As you consider the idea of forgiveness, it may also be helpful to remember that forgiving someone doesn’t mean you forget what they did or that what they did wasn’t wrong. What it means is that you no longer let the event be an emotional trigger that causes you to feel the negative emotions.
Another point to consider is what did you learn from the event? This can be a difficult question to answer, especially if you are still consumed by the emotions attached to an event. In his book “The Mastery of Love” Don Miguel Ruiz says that everyone we meet is there to teach us something. Likewise, every situation and event in our lives has a lesson. We just have to slow down enough to recognize the lesson. Again, write about it.
Something else that may help you move toward forgiveness is to understand what you need now that you didn’t get then. Perhaps at the time you needed sympathy or understanding. Maybe you simply wanted this person to see things your way. So, give yourself that understanding now, and know that it’s okay to feel what you are feeling and it’s also okay to let go of that.
Once you have forgiven someone, it’s possible that those old feelings may come up again, and that’s okay too! It just means you have a little left over. Kind of like when you remove a splinter, and you think you got it all. Then a few days later, that spot is sore and swollen. You have to get the needle and the alcohol and dig around a little more to find the leftover pieces. So, if you find those old emotions rising back up, just dig a little deeper, forgive some more and do that as often as you need to, until that person and that event no longer cause you to suffer with negative emotions.
Forgiving someone for the hurt they have caused you is an important act of self-Love. When you let go of the negative emotions surrounding an event, you make space for Love and freedom from those emotions that have hung over you for so long.
As part of YOUR Self-Love Journey, I invite you to choose one person who you are ready to forgive and do it. Apply these ideas and questions to your situation and see what happens. If it works, that’s great! If not, that’s okay. I wish you well!
With Love & Gratitude,