The concept of forgiveness is very complicated and needs to be continually explored throughout our lives.
For many, the mere thought of forgiving someone who has wronged them is unfathomable. However, it is important to consider what holding on to unforgiving feelings may do to a person. The implications of anger, resentment, fear, avoidance, intimidation, sadness and loss can be detrimental to a person’s body, mind and spirit. If you haven’t forgiven someone in the past or present, take a moment and reflect on how that has affected you.
For me, forgiveness had been akin to my weakest muscle. It was an area of my life that I needed to work on, needed to use but dreaded trying to practice it. Holding a grudge was something that I revered and learned how to do when I was young. As a teenager, my dad would punish me for any bad decision that I made, and my reaction was to hold a grudge. I wouldn’t speak to him for weeks. I would look right past him as if he didn’t exist. At first, it felt good because I knew it drove him crazy but as the days went by, I started to feel worse. I would get nervous before he got home, and would feel sad, guilty and ashamed for my behavior. Despite how it made me feel, I would continue to hold those grudges for many years and with many different people in my life. Upon reflection, I often couldn’t remember why I was so angry in the first place. I learned that once I was in the thick of the resentment, it was hard to let it go. Clearly, this example pales in comparison to someone who has been abused or experienced a trauma, however, the feelings of anger and resentment will continue to harm them despite the experience.
Like forgiveness, vulnerability was also a muscle that needed to be strengthened and practiced daily. Both aspects are essential for a joy full life with deep lasting relationships. They are muscles that continually need attention. This is a universal perspective.
We all are affected by the choice to forgive or not to forgive.
There are hundreds of books written on this topic and, as we can see, the act of not forgiving can be pandemic. So, what’s the solution? Simple… learn how to forgive.
There is an exercise that we all can do to strengthen this muscle and the best part is that the person you are forgiving doesn’t have to know! It is not the only way to address forgiveness, however, it is a technique that I found impactful for me. Not having to confront the person or persons was a game changer for me. Every book I’ve read on this topic clearly states how we are healthier when we forgive and let go of the repressed feelings than holding on to them! The fact that our ego doesn’t have to get involved is a bonus.
With the exercise I am about to share, your decision to absolve the perpetrator is only between you and you and ONLY for you!! No one else. Thus, not opening ourselves up to an opinion, unkind response or reaction.
Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is essential at this point, only then can you be open to forgiving. Initially, this approach can be very scary, so trust in the fact that in order to grow, be free and love ourselves wholly, we must forgive.
I was introduced to this technique years ago and it has provided me with a huge sense of comfort and opportunity for self-love. It’s a Hawaiian prayer, called the Ho’oponopono “prayer for forgiveness”. The idea is to chant this mantra (or write it down) and, overtime, absolve yourself from the hold of not forgiving. The prayer is viewed as a cleansing of inner discordance and promotes internal power and relief from the pain caused by the grudge. I encourage you to give it a try. It may feel uncomfortable, silly or strange, however, you have nothing to lose and so much to gain.
Please forgive me
I’m so sorry
I love you
At first glance, it may seem that this is for the person who may or may not deserve the forgiveness, nonetheless, these profound words are for you! It’s about practicing humility, gratitude, and becoming the best version of yourself. According to the Daily Om, “in Hawaiian culture it is believed that withholding forgiveness leads to disease and disharmony.” It’s no wonder that people go to Hawaii to escape and find solitude in their life. I hope this brings a little bit of the Hawaiian life to you. Mahalo.
Here’s the love…
“Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness.” ~Marianne Williamson