It’s hard to feel good about yourself when you can’t forgive. No matter what else you’re doing to live a mindful life, the upset of being unable to let go lingers in the background.
It might be something hurtful a friend did weeks ago, or it might be anger at yourself for falling beneath your own expectations. The bottom line is that those hot, angry feelings are a burden.
What is Forgiveness, Anyway?
When we forgive, we release emotions. Forgiveness is just another way to process and say goodbye to stuck emotions!
Therefore, you shouldn’t think of it as some complicated, elusive goal. It’s something we do all of the time as we let feelings pass. It’s just that some feelings are harder to work out than others.
Also, if you’re forgiving another person, understand that they can still be held accountable. Forgiving does not mean they did nothing wrong. It simply means that you consciously choose not to let the offending action disrupt your peace. You harbor no ill will, even if you do move forward with appropriate boundaries.
Tips for Forgiveness
How do we find the relief of forgiveness, letting go of anger, sorrow, and hurt? If forgiveness is on the other side of a really big roadblock for you, try this:
Focus on your wellbeing.
Focusing on how good you feel while in pursuit of forgiveness accomplishes two things. First, it allows you to see how hanging onto hurt affects you. Be mindful as you observe how these emotions impact your sleep, daily habits, and general mood.
Now that you see how a lack of forgiveness is holding you back, you can accomplish the second purpose - imagine feeling better. You’re not letting it linger there until it blends into your being. Meditate on how much lighter and more relaxed you’d feel without the weight of it.
Work it out.
Some people need to take action to move through discomfort and pain. In this case, you could write a letter to the person you need to forgive (even yourself). Or shout it out! Expressing emotion in ways we normally don’t is a great release.
If you’re already stewing on the incident with no forgiveness insight, add new ways to occupy your time. Ideally, it could be something physical that gets you rid of your physical body of tension, confusion, or lethargy these feelings create. Running, boxing, yoga, gardening – go for it.
Take a softer approach.
Compassion and empathy are powerful healing tools. Apply them to anyone who needs to be forgiven. Again, we’re not excusing or dismissing any harmful action. We’re just visiting the situation from a gentler angle and being careful and kind with our thoughts.
With empathy and compassion, you might find that you take things less personally. It’s absolutely true that some actions say more about the person doing them than the person they’re directed at. And that brings forgiveness closer.
Do you forgive easily? What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to forgive, and how did you do it? Let us know in the comments, and see if you’re hanging onto anything that needs forgiving.