“Forgiveness is a process that is analogous to if not in large part identical to the grieving process.” – Charles Whitfield, M.D.
Why is it important to forgive? Is it really about the object, or is it about releasing the ties so that you can move forward? Is forgiveness about others or is it about forgiving yourself for accepting behaviors/situations that didn’t treat you well? What is forgiveness? Forgiveness is the act of letting go of negative feelings – whether it’s hurt, anger, helplessness, or resentment. Sometimes the object of forgiveness is a person, sometimes it’s a situation, or even yourself.
Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting the damage that was done or that X deserves it, or giving reasons for someone else’s offenses – far from it. Forgiveness is the act of giving yourself permission to let go of any negative feelings, thoughts, or habits that do not serve our lives because WE deserve peace.
“Studies have shown that forgiving others produces strong psychological benefits for the one who forgives. It has been shown to decrease depression, anxiety, unhealthy anger, and the symptoms of PTSD.” — Robert Enright, International Forgiveness Institute, Inc.
It’s not an overnight process – forgiveness will take as much time as it needs. Sometimes you will backslide into resentment or fear, but each time you forgive, the easier it gets, the better you will feel, and the weaker the ties. There is no quick-fix – you must delve deep into yourself, be willing to look at why you’re holding on to the negative feelings. Forgiveness can be a helpful tool in creating a sense of inner strength, safety, and improving our own self-esteem by re-writing the internal messages from being unworthy to being of value, to others and to ourselves. This allows us to clear the way to pursue a meaningful life of purpose and joy.
“All that has offended me, I forgive. Within and without, I forgive. Things past, things present, things future, I forgive. I forgive everything and everybody who can possibly need forgiveness of the past or present. I forgive positively everyone, especially myself. I am free and all others are free, too. All things are cleared up between us, now and forever.” — Catherine Ponder
The most important thing to remember is that everyone makes mistakes – very rarely is it a deliberate act. We are all human and will always be imperfect and this is easy to forget. When forgiving, remember that we are forgiving the person, not the act. Instead of going the ‘eye for an eye’ route of vengeance, forgiveness can help open us up to ways of communicating with each other better by way of making amends. It also provides us with the choice to behave differently and to make better decisions for the future.
One of the things that’s really helped in understanding my dreams and what my subconscious is trying to tell me is keeping a journal on my nightstand. Whether it’s a fragment of an image, a feeling, or a word, I immediately write it down in my journal. By creating...