Forgiveness as a Key to the Future
One of the most important gifts you can give yourself is the gift of forgiveness. Choosing to forgive releases you from the burden of anger and pain allowing you to live in the present and look forward to the future. By no means does it mean to forget, only to release and go on. Forgiveness does not happen on it’s own. You must choose to forgive.
Nor does forgiving mean resuming or continuing a person or people that have harmed you. As in the words of Frederic Luskin, Ph.D., author of Forgive For Good – ” If a person won’t meet you halfway or has been abusive, it may be better to forgive simple to make your own life less stressful, but continue to keep your distance.”
Dr. Luskin’s suggestions –
1. Get the frustration – tell your story to a few close friends. This will help you explore your feelings about the rift and obtain a clear sense of perspective.
2. Focus on what’s in it for you – it’s not always about who was right. Remind yourself that forgiving can free you to move on with your life. Tell yourself that the point is to reduce angst. After all, living well is the best revenge.
3. Breathe in calm – instead of tensing up or starting in on your inner rant, inhale and exhale deeply or relax in whatever way appeals to you.
4. Turn the details of your story around – victims don’t have control of their lives; heroes do. So make yourself the hero of your own saga. Think of it this way; Although someone else may have precipitated your misery, whether you stay miserable is entirely up to you.
You may have been hurt by something that your partner did to you. You may have been hurt because your expectations weren’t met. You may have been hurt and you don’t even remember why. You may have done something to someone else that you are sorry for. And you remember the pain and carry it with you like a grudge everywhere you go. When your burden becomes too great, it becomes the relationship, it consumes your life and it changes who you are and what your relationships can be. It is a wall between you and the intimacy that you seek.
Forgive is defined as – giving up resentment against or the desire to punish; stop being angry ith.
- When you forgive you relieve yourself of the burden of the past. Letting go of the hurt, pain, anger and loneliness allowing yourself to begin to heal.
- You give both yourself and the person or people you forgive the chance to live in peace allowing the the chance to change for the better
- Forgiveness is not forgetting
- The pain may take a while to be completely gone. You can forgive and still grieve a loss or feel pain from a wound.
- Damage and wounds can take time to repair.
- Forgiveness does not deny responsibility for behavior it is simply being committed to NOT hold the other person in debt.
Suggestions of Ways to forgive
An exercise in forgiveness for yourself:
- By hand… Yes, it is important that it is handwritten! Write down with pen and paper all the things you feel you have done wrong.
- Read the list
- Say, ” I did the best I could with the knowledge I had at the time. I now forgive myself and go free.”
- Burn, shred or tear-up the list.
- Repeat the exercise for every other person who have hurt you.
- Now begin to live your life without the burden of the unforgiving pain causing yourself unnecessary suffering.
Individual forgiveness – forgive yourself for judging yourself for not being worthy of love, happiness and joy. You are worthy of love. You are worthy of happiness. You are worthy of joy. Stop judging yourself. Have the strength and courage to allow yourself to be vulnerable. Be kind and loving to yourself. Practice holding a positive vision for yourself. Make choices that support you in moving forward in your life. It is all about choices. Choose to forgive yourself and then move forward and let go of your past. Live for today and enjoy the journey of life itself.
An exercise in forgiveness for couples.
It is suggested that this exercise is done using positive, loving communication. If this is an issue reading books on the topic or taking communication training may help. Once you becoming comfortable discussing difficult subjects, try these exercises.
Work on one issue at a time. Be sure that you both agree you are ready to discuss the issue.
Using active listening techniques such as The Couple’s Fair Exchange Process or Speaker Listener and ground rules that you have agreed to, discuss the pain and concerns that you have about the issue. The objective is to understand how you each feel about the issue. Do not point the finger, do not place blame, but try to understand the consequences of each other’s actions. You must show respect and care for each other.
The offender asks for forgiveness. Apologies are extremely powerful. Understand the pain and feelings of the offended person.
The offended person agrees to forgive. Commit the issue to the past without getting even or holding the offender in debt. The issue will not be used as a weapon in future conflicts.
The offender agrees to change their behavior as appropriate.
You both move forward with a commitment to create a better future.