The journey of forgiveness: How to forgive and let go
By Davis Muli
Forgiveness is not as easy as it sounds. Being able to forgive and let go takes a lot of courage and a concise decision to actually do so. In today’s social media era, a lot of people are masking behind emojis and covering their wounds thus not being able to forgive and let go.
Holding on to resentments/grudges not only burdens us emotionally but studies have shown that it can bring about serious health complications such as heart failure/attacks. But how do you experience genuine forgiveness and stop feeling resentful? Because it’s one thing to know it intellectually but another to actually feel it. By forgiving, you are accepting the reality of what happened and finding a way to live in a state of resolution with it.
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- Be open and receptive to forgiveness
Depending on the level of hurt/pain caused, forgiveness and letting go is a process. Some people may experience it overnight while others it might even take years to let go. It is good to recognize and appreciate that it is a process that requires time and a conscious decision. When images of the betrayal or hurt flash in your mind, think of a calming place or do something to distract yourself from dwelling on those thoughts.
- Acknowledge the growth
As a result of what happened, you must have learned a few life skills. Focus on those ones. Try to be positive about it and acknowledge the growth you experienced as a result. What did it make you learn about yourself, or about your needs and boundaries? Not only did you survive the incident, perhaps you grew from it. Focus on the positives.
- Try to understand the other person involved
He or she is flawed because all human beings are flawed. He or she acted from limited beliefs and a skewed frame of reference because sometimes we all act from our limited beliefs and skewed frames of reference. When you were hurt, the other person was trying to have a need met. What do you think this need was and why did the person go about it in such a hurtful way?
- Feel your pain
Hurts can run deep, even if at first glance they don’t seem to make a big impact. It’s important to give yourself permission to acknowledge and honor the pain that’s very real for you. Notice where you feel it in your body and ask yourself, “What do I need right now?” Maybe you need to feel supported, take more time, or do something kind for yourself. Allowing space for the pain in this way can help you know whether you’re ready to release it from your heart and mind.
- Remember that expecting perfection is unrealistic
We live in a world where people make mistakes, and they make them often. While some have worse consequences than others, many simply happen accidentally, not on purpose. We all are just trying to survive, and most of us don’t intentionally wish bad things upon others. Realize that we all swim in the same sea, and we all battle the same currents. All of us just try to keep our heads above the water, but sometimes we sink throughout this test of life.