The most powerful way to love another, or yourself, is to practice forgiveness. Forgiveness is so powerful that it doesn’t just release the other person… it releases you.
Here’s the thing: You may know without a doubt that you are justified in being hurt or angry. And you have every right to be upset. But what you may not realize, is that when you refuse to forgive and let go, it imprisons you in your pain.
Would you rather be right, or would you rather be free?
When you withhold forgiveness, you remain chained to the suffering of the past. Carrying around resentment, anger, pain or a seething view that you must be right, creates deep, emotional wounds that over time can affect how you trust, how you love, and how you align with others. This does not serve you. Whatsoever.
And what ends up happening is your unwillingness to forgive ends up hurting you far worse than the other person. In the words of Malachy McCourt, “Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”
Forgiveness is the most powerful and freeing gift you can ever give yourself. By consciously forgiving someone, or yourself, you are releasing suffering and resentment and regaining renewed freedom to move forward. And making room for true, internal happiness.
If you think about it, forgiveness is simply; giving. Even the word “give” is within it. Giving and sharing is one of the primary acts in life that give us purpose. In fact, the incredible benefits of giving are just as powerful for the giver as they are for the recipient.
So why carry the dead weight of a grudge any longer?
Rewriting Your Inner Dialogue
Forgiveness often feels impossible when you are deeply hurt.
You can’t seem to drown out the nagging voice in your head rehashing the events causing your distress. Torturous reminiscences of betrayal, pain and deceit flash across the screen in your mind as you relive these moments over and over.
But holding onto these memories and allowing your thoughts to replay them is what keeps the pain alive. And that is what is making it feel impossible to forgive. But the inability to forgive denies you emotional freedom and hinders your personal growth.
Achieving freedom through forgiveness is a process. But it is possible to alleviate the conscious or subconscious suffering immediately. You can choose to be happy, reclaim your power, and let go of the victimization right now.
You have the power to put an end to the painful story that fosters your resentment. Just shift your perspective.
This may not be a comfortable process. You’ll have to surrender all the ideas you’ve convinced yourself of in order to see it from a fresh point of view.
Recognize how the other person may have felt in the situation. Empathize from their perspective, see and feel their pain — spoken and unspoken.
Remove your judgements from the storyline completely to see it objectively.
Recognize how you participated in the event, and accept responsibility for your part.
Become empowered by recognizing the human in yourself and in others.
Accept that anger hasn’t and will never change a situation — it only poisons your spirit and creates negative repercussions.
Recognize that your anger and reactivity is the real enemy.
And lastly, transform your perspective to recognize and accept that every seemingly negative situation is a gift. It is an opportunity to learn and grow.
Emotions are natural. When you feel wronged, you will feel a flood of emotions. However, remember that suffering never arises from the event itself, but from our mind’s own narrative.
And so you must interrupt the story that your mind has been telling you — and then choose to rewrite it in your favor.
How to Forgive and Let Go
Forgiveness does not ignore the truth of our suffering.
Your pain is valid. But it is not worth holding onto.
There is no longer a need to ruminate feelings attached to an old story. You’re no longer a prisoner to your past. Let it go. Become weightless without the burden of negative energy dragging you down.
As you build the courage to forgive someone you never thought you could, you can write them a letter, email, or a text, letting them know you have forgiven them. But don’t worry, you don’t have to send it. Do it for your own development and progress in forgiving. Try playing soft, classical music in the background as you write — music has a profound effect on the body. It helps reduce anger and stress, and promotes feelings of calm, happiness and love.
All emotions and thoughts that you tied to that grudge can now be released and replaced with healing and positive energy. This is true personal growth and the key to inner freedom.
Imagine being a caged bird. Imagine witnessing the bars that have imprisoned you suddenly vanishing. You’re now able to spread your beautiful wings and take flight from your painful past and soar freely into the sky to discover endless possibilities! You are free at last.
The Power of Forgiveness
It is far easier to talk, read or write about forgiveness than to actually offer it to someone who caused a tremendous amount of emotional or psychological damage to you. But how beautiful it is to abandon the pain and leave it behind you, where it belongs. That damage no longer defines you or encapsulates your potential to thrive.
Every opportunity to choose forgiveness is a chance to turn a page in your personal growth and spiritual maturity.
The human experience isn’t void of pain. You will be hurt and betrayed; it’s a part of life. But because forgiveness is becoming a part of your character, you will never again be so drastically affected as the result of someone else’s wrongdoing.