Who do you need to Forgive?
The Power of Forgiveness
There won’t be a person in this world who hasn’t been wronged or hurt in their lifetime. It is next to impossible not to get hurt from time to time. Disappointment and pain are inevitable aspects of the journey that we all refer to as LIFE. So, when you are wronged, disappointed, deceived, or hurt, what do you do?
Do you keep grudges as long as you can or forgive the wrongdoer and move on in life?
It’s common that you might hold the grudge. And there’s nothing quite unusual about it. We are humans, and we all tend to do that. It’s a natural phenomenon. Forgiveness is not easy for any of us. We have been wronged, so we deserve to punish the person and continue to be mad. Why should we forgive them? Do these thoughts keep crossing your mind whenever you are in such a phase?
Believe it or not, choosing to forgive can help you heal so much and have a tremendous impact on your life. I was taught as a child that feeling my feelings was wrong and that I had to hold my anger; so why would I forgive. I ended up having such anger and trust issues with men that I developed fibroids; one was the size of a grapefruit. As Louise Hay says; fibroids indicate a “hurt from a partner”. I had been hurt so many times; that I manifested the anger in a fibroid. On the day of the surgery, I asked my dad to drive me to the hospital. In the parking lot, I had him read a poem of forgiveness that all women forgive the hurts men have done. He cried and I cried and I knew that with the surgery; I was removing the anger and hurt from the men that had hurt me. After the surgery, I felt much freer.
It’s not about portraying yourself as a superior being or better than others. It is about YOU. Forgiving people can help you become stronger and calmer.
You Have a Choice- Take Your Pick!
We always have a choice. We can either hold on to resentment and hurt or choose to let go and move ahead. Choosing not to forgive the past offenses and hurts makes us angry. Anger isn’t a good emotion to nurture. It will make us distrust others, which will eventually shake our faith in our own abilities and capabilities.
Forgiving others will prevent you from nurturing anger and aggression within you. It’s a toxic emotion because resentment and anger sap your energy and keeps you stuck in the past. It closes doors of hope and other opportunities.
On the other hand, if you choose to let go, you will feel free and light. Forgiveness is a powerful exercise for character building. According to Dr. Tyler VanderWeele, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Initiative on Health, Religion, and Spirituality co-director:
“Forgiving a person who has wronged you is never easy, but dwelling on those events and reliving them over and over can fill your mind with negative thoughts and suppressed anger. Yet, when you learn to forgive, you are no longer trapped by the past actions of others and can finally feel free.”
How to Let Go?
It’s not easy to let go and forgive. But if you really want yourself to feel liberated and relaxed, take forgiveness as an exercise you should regularly perform. There are two aspects to forgiveness- emotional and decisional. In emotional forgiveness, you stop dwelling on the wrongdoing and move away from negative emotions. It is much more complex than decisional forgiveness, but it is the most fruitful. Dr. VanderWeele says that emotional forgiveness takes longer because those negative emotions keep coming back.
“This often happens when you think about the offender, or something triggers the memory, or you still suffer from the adverse consequences of the action,” he explained.
In contrast, decisional forgiveness encourages you to make a conscious choice to replace ill will with goodwill. When you opt for decisional forgiveness, you stop wishing that bad things would happen to the wrongdoer. Hence, it is easier to accomplish than emotional forgiveness.
What are the Health Benefits of Forgiveness?
Practicing forgiveness has several health benefits. As per various observational studies and randomized trials, forgiveness lowers depression, anxiety, and hostility levels. It minimizes an individual’s tendency to indulge in substance abuse and improves self-esteem. Moreover, it leads to greater life satisfaction.
However, it is essential to note that forgiveness won’t erase the past. It will just change your outlook about it. Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting the incident or hurtful things; it just keeps your focus on the prospects and prevents you from getting stuck in the past. To succeed in life, you must learn to move on without any strings attached to the past. I like to see it as forgive “why” someone hurt you; not “what” they did. It’s much easier to go within and forgive the little child in them than the adult things they did.
Forgiveness helps you let go of hatred instead of letting it consume you. You won’t feel disturbed by the constant replaying of disempowering emotions. Instead, you’ll start living in the present moment.
Dangers of Withholding Forgiveness:
Withholding forgiveness is highly dangerous for you because it keeps alive negative emotions like anger, hurt, and blame. This impacts your overall perception of life and quality of living. Conversely, forgiveness has the power to help you feel healed. Many of us turn to self-blame by considering ourselves responsible for the entire situation to some extent. That’s also dangerous.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean you are accepting that you are partly responsible for what transpired. It creates a feeling that you aren’t the victim and whatever happened was destined to happen this way. As we mentioned above, forgiveness simply changes your outlook.
Forgiveness is for Your Own Welfare!
There is a close link between negative feelings and illness. Destructive, toxic emotions can activate certain diseases if we ignore our emotional wellbeing. Conversely, forgiveness is linked with your emotional welfare. It’s more than granting the wrongdoer pardon. It is about preserving your own emotional and mental health and wellbeing. Rather than have the anger sword hurting you; you release it.
I acknowledge it is difficult to forgive a perpetrator for wrongdoing, yet, if you consider it from a greater perspective, forgiveness is associated with your emotional welfare, not merely granting the other person pardon. Author Dennis Merritt Jones explained it beautifully in these words:
“At the end of the day, forgiveness is really not for the other person’s benefit at all — it’s for our own. Regardless of how illogical it may seem at times, it is through unconditional forgiveness that we surrender the past to the past and enter the present, freeing ourselves to stand in the infinite Light that knows how to heal our deepest and most painful wounds.”
Why do you need to Forgive?
We all wish for a happy and peaceful life. Still, we are reluctant to let go of toxic feelings and emotions. We want to take revenge most of the time, but this won’t erase the past or cleanse your body and mind of toxic emotions. It may generate even more troubling and lethal emotions that you might find difficult to deal with. We take revenge and avoid letting go because we feel vulnerable after being wronged. Mario Martinez wrote in The MindBody Code: How to Change the Beliefs that Limit Your Health, Longevity, and Success:
“When you’re wounded, especially by significant people in your life, your empowerment is challenged, and your worthiness is called into question. The vulnerability your loss of empowerment creates within you allows the wound to damage your worthiness.”
Take cues from the 2009 movie Invictus. Actor Morgan Freeman who played Nelson Mandela, says these beautiful and very relevant lines that may help you understand why forgiveness is so important.
“Forgiveness starts here…Forgiveness liberates the soul… It removes fear, that is why it is such a powerful weapon…The past is the past, we look to the future.”
How to forgive- Understanding HO’OPONOPONO
If you struggle to forgive- turn to Ho’oponopono.
It is an ancient practice that originated in Hawaii. For those who cannot forgive themselves and others, it is the perfect go-to remedy to learn to forgive. This healing practice is nothing complex that you might find challenging to master. It is a therapeutic Hawaiian prayer for forgiveness.
Ho’oponopono is a concept for reconciliation as well as a tool to help you restore self-love. The word Ho’oponopono simply means causing things to return to a balanced form and make things right. Pono means balance, so we can consider it a Zen-inspired concept.
To practice Ho’oponopono, you only need to chant the prayer repeatedly. This will cleanse the body of all negative emotions such as guilt, shame, ill will, haunting memories of the past, and anything that keeps our minds fixated on negative thoughts.
If you want to try out Ho’oponopono, chant this mantra over and over while sitting with your eyes closed as if you are meditating. Here‘s the Ho’oponopono prayer.
“I’m sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you, I love you.”
That’s it. The prayer is all about chanting these four feel-good phrases. It is a touching prayer comprising of very simple but universally loved and cherished words.
With regular practice, you will see positive changes in yourself. It will help you develop self-love and self-esteem when you need it the most.
If you want to do a forgiveness meditation; play this video below from my friend, Sarah Dawkins. It’s four minutes of forgiveness. Try it and see what changes in your life. Click the image below to listen to the meditation.
Try out my forgiveness tapping affirmation below and see more on my Tapping Affirmation Page