Have you ever been hurt, been hurt so bad that you cannot forget or forgive? Have you ever been betrayed by someone you really trusted. How did it feel? If it was depressing or was filling you with hatred, you need to let go. Your well being is more important than dwelling on someone’s past actions, even though they negatively affected you. You need to release your anger in order to live a healthier life! You need to forgive, to live happier! But what is forgiveness and who do you forgive for?
A definition of forgiveness that I like very much is “Forgiveness is the process of waiving any negative feeling or desire of punishment” The reason why I like this definition is that it has little to do with the wrongdoer. However my favorite ones are two that I once heard on the Oprah Show: “Forgiveness is giving up the hope that past could be different”; “Forgiveness is seeing the other person in the light of love rather than in the action of what happened”
Of course other definitions are still good, like “the act of pardoning somebody for a mistake or a wrongdoing”, “to grant free pardon and to give up all claim on account of an offense or debt” to name just a few.
Who do we forgive for? The answer is simple, we forgive for ourselves. Think about it. Living with a grudge is painful, depressing and controlling. Why do we want to subject ourselves to such a life. Take the road to forgiveness, it will allow you to let go of the past, enjoy the present and prepare for a better future. When we forgive we reclaim energy that used to be wasted on anger and resentment, which we do not need in our lives.
When we forgive, we are releasing ourselves from the pain we have suffered at the hands of others. By forgiving we are walking away from judgment, including judgments of ourselves. Sometimes we can be harsh on ourselves because of what someone did to us, passing wrong kinds of judgments like “we were weak, we were naïve, or we were not careful”. Thus talking the focus from what’s more important in our lives.
To forgive is crucial, but let’s be clear about something! Forgiveness does not mean that we agree or understand what the other person has done to us, or they have the right to do what they did or should be pardoned for their actions. It simply means that we have made the choice to let go, the choice to give the gifts of love, acceptance and generosity not only to the other person, even though they do not deserve it, but also to the most important person of all, us.
How do you forgive? It might be easier in theory than in practice, but taking the following steps should help.
- Redirect the focus on you, you are the most important person in the world, as far as you are concerned.
- Don’t wait for people to ask before you forgive. You are doing for you, so do it right away.
- Consider the benefits of forgiveness: it is true that Forgiveness appears weak in the eyes of others, but it brings you power and make you less vulnerable to others. Forgiveness brings that kind of peace that helps you go on with life and that alone is worth it.
- Try to think how much forgiveness would mean, if you were the one who made the mistake.
- Consider that it takes less energy to be compassionate and forgive than it does to hate and hold a grudge.
- Acknowledge that we are human beings, therefore not perfect, so we will make mistakes.
All in all, remember this, when you forgive, you have chosen to live with a merciful heart. With a merciful heart comes the power to be free and live a better and meaningful life. Forgive because it will release you from the prison of the past and allow you live in the present where your success is made.
Question: Are you struggling with forgiveness or are successful in forgiving? You can leave a comment by clicking here.