You know forgiveness is an absolute must if you want good relationships.
You also know that forgiveness is hard.
Really. Freaking. Hard.
Forgiveness isn’t only good for your soul though.
When you forgive, you are giving your body a huge health boost. You’re lowering your blood pressure, relieving depression, enhancing your immune system and strengthening your heart.
So before you give up and miss out on the number one practice that will improve your relationships (and your health), let’s look at this whole forgiveness thing with new eyes.
What Forgiveness Is
- Forgiveness is a way of releasing yourself from suffering and pain.
- Forgiveness let’s you be WHOLE, so you can bring the best of yourself to your current relationships, your future relationships and your life.
- Forgiveness brings you into the present, so you can create your future from a place of power instead of anger and pain from the past.
What Forgiveness Isn’t
- Forgiveness is not for other people. Forgiveness is for YOU. A lot of times the person you are forgiving doesn’t even know you are angry at them anymore. If they’ve made peace with their mistakes, they might assume you have too.
- Forgiveness doesn’t mean you are OK with being mistreated. Just because you forgive someone doesn’t mean you continue spending time with them.
- Forgiveness isn’t pretending something doesn’t bother you when it really does and then bringing it up later. If you’re angry or upset about something, you have a responsibility to bring it up lovingly and honestly at the time. If you let it go, let it go “for reals” (as my nephew says). Otherwise, you’re just saving up Get Out of Jail Free cards…and it doesn’t work.
How to Forgive When You Don’t Want To
If you are struggling to let go of pain from the past, these strategies can help you free yourself for good.
Forgiveness Practice #1:
You don’t have to force yourself to forgive. Instead of trying to force it, you can decide to be willing to forgive. Being willing to forgive is saving a space for forgiveness right now so it can show up later.
Forgiveness Practice #2:
While you are saving space for forgiveness, make sure you include forgiving yourself in that thought. Once you’ve become stronger and healed, you may look back and remember past mistakes. You might get angry that you let yourself be treated badly in the past. You may feel ashamed about being complicit in situations that caused shame, pain or embarrassment for yourself or others.
The truth is that everybody does the absolute best that they can with what they know at the time.
So there’s no point in punishing yourself for past transgressions, Love. It’s OK to let it go.
Letting go of punishing yourself doesn’t mean you’ll make the same mistakes again.
Forgiveness Practice #3:
Another powerful practice that can help you let go of past wrongs is to put your hand over your heart, breathe in deeply, and as you breathe out say (silently or out loud):
“I am willing to learn to forgive.”
Do this before bedtime, when you wake up and anytime you catch yourself trying to force forgiveness.
So now I’d like to hear from you. Which of the Forgiveness Practices resonates best with you and why? Let me know in the comments below.
Carisa Montooth, M.S. is an Author, Speaker, Educational Counselor and Relationship Coach who helps savvy female entrepreneurs create sinfully rich relationships and work-life balance. Owner of Carisa Montooth Consulting, she uses her Strongest Element Personality Framework™ to help people understand themselves and others on a deeper level and powerfully enrich their romantic relationships, businesses, and lives.