Lately, I have been contemplating forgiveness and what it means to truly forgive myself and others. It’s often one of the hardest things to do. Yet, practicing forgiveness is often the most important thing we can do for our own mental/physical/spiritual health for it helps reinstate a positive outlook on life.
Forgiving someone is often problematic. It often is needed at a time when emotions are high and feelings of wanting to hold onto the righteous anger we are experiencing are at their peak.
So what is forgiveness? The best definition I have heard is that forgiveness is a shift in thinking that allows us to stop wishing harm on the wrongdoer. Instead we focus on feelings/actions that allow us to restore good feelings with that person who has inflicted pain. It means we begin to strive for unity with that person and search for understanding/meaning in what has happened.
Sometimes forgiveness is impossible but the majority of time it is doable. These are the things am reminded of as I work to practice forgiveness in my own life.
- Don’t keep bringing up the past. What’s done is done and it can’t be changed. Admittedly, I do not do this as well as I should.
- Give the benefit of the doubt. Believe that your partner did not set out to intentionally hurt you. Hard to do in the midst of pain.
- Accept an apology when offered. It doesn’t mean you have to be “over it” it just means that you are working towards that end.
- Don’t wait for the other person in your life to apologize. Sometimes they will, sometimes they won’t. Choose to forgive so you can move on and because ultimately forgiving benefits you.
- Be kind instead of right. In doing so you allow for faster healing between you and your spouse. You also set a positive atmosphere for future discussions with your mate. When you are kind it is noticed and kindness often comes right back to you in return.
- Try to remember that we are all humans. As humans we all make mistakes. Remember how when you make that next mistake you want to be forgiven in a kind and loving way.
- The harder it is to forgive someone, the more I am responsible. Letting go of hurts/anger is difficult but can be done. If you continue to not let it go you have to look at those parts in yourself that won’t and figure out why. Does this inability to let go truly stem from this incident or are hurts from your past keeping you stuck.
- Sometimes you just have to remember that they are responsible for their own wrongs. It doesn’t always have to do with you even though you might have caught in the crossfire. Let them own their actions so you can let the anger/pain go and get back to being you.