Forgiveness: a personal, emotional unshackling
Forgiveness is a struggle for most of us Forgiveness is the inner work triggering in us the most resistance though it is the most powerful healing tool we have at our fingertips at any time. So why do we resist so much the emotional release, the liberation that true forgiveness can bring us? Because there is a part of us that still clings to what happened in the past and REFUSES it. As long as we hold the grudge, feel the pain, refuse the event and want repair, apologies, amends, or simply keep on hating the people who caused us pain, we are emotionally shackled to that event, and to these people. And the sad part is that we do that to ourselves from the inside out. No matter what happened then, it did happen and we need to leave it there. But we keep it going. So here we are, wasting some of our beautiful life force in holding the memory, fueling the revengeful thoughts, rehashing the wrongness, and feeling the sadness and the anger all over again and again. We do this to ourselves in the now. Nobody else does it to us. 1/By simply accepting what happened as a fact of the past, we start the process of letting it go; of putting it where it belongs: back then. The second step in the process of forgiving (yes, it is a process) is to understand that we keep hurting ourselves with our negative feelings and memories. Any negative thought we repeat over and over becomes a mental attitude that hinders us. Any negative mental pattern becomes a guideline first, then a personality trait. When we indulge in unforgivingness we deprive ourselves from wholeness. Forgiving is not excusing or condoning anything. It is only letting go of the death grip we got on a particular time of our life. There is no need to expose ourselves to more abuse or more grief by reaching out to the perpetrator though we can offer written pardon if we feel the need to do it (and we can either send it out or burn it after it is written). 2/By simply accepting the fact that life exposed us to a circumstance and that we have the freedom to choose our response to it, we open a door and let some relief get in. We get our power back. We are not victims any more but masters of ourselves. 3/The third step is allowing ourselves to feel liberated and grateful to be free. Feeling the shackles of resentment, grief, and anger fall off puts us in a completely different place emotionally. Now we can look at what happened from a distance, as a piece of our history. We are not perpetuating it anymore. We can celebrate the fact that we survived everything so far and are still here, free to make our tomorrows better than our yesterdays. But, you'll say: "How can I stop despising and hating a perpetrator?" 4/We can develop our ability to extend compassion toward every being no matter what, even though we may avoid, despise, condemn, or hate a given behavior. All of us are at different stages of evolution, understanding, fear, and humane capability. There is no denying the fact. We hurt others and we get hurt by others. It is part of the experience of life. When we extend compassion to all of us we give a chance to humanity to evolve as a whole. Acknowledging, letting go of, feeling free and extending compassion is a sequential practice that permits us to for-give. To give forward. To become whole again. As in any good practice, we want to include ourselves in the process. Forgiveness of self is as crucial as forgiving others. The acknowledgment part is the most tricky part here, because we rarely completely see how much grudges and self hatred we hold against ourselves! Seriously. The truth is: when we arbor any kind of self destructive behavior we have self forgiveness to do. So take a moment and ponder how truly loving your behaviors are toward yourself... Do you binge? Do you put yourself in debt? Do you think you are not good enough? Do you numb yourself with drugs or alcohol? Do you have any unhealthy repetitive behavior? If the answer is yes, you are demonstrating self-hatred. Just acknowledge it. Then start the process. Right now right here. The best place to begin is in practicing self-forgiveness... it will get you all the way to forgiving the world.
To your practice. much love