Nelson Mandela, who was imprisoned for 27 years by the South African government, said:
“As I walked out the door toward my freedom I knew that if I don’t leave all the anger, hatred and bitterness behind, I would still be in prison.”
Since you are reading this blog post, forgiveness is probably something close to your heart. Take a moment to reflect on his words then. Think of a situation when something hurtful happened to you. How did you feel? Were you angry and upset? Did you feel heartbroken? Observe these emotions without judging them. They are neither good nor bad. They just are. Acknowledge them as they are.
We’ve all been in these places of hurt and heart break. Maybe a friend betrayed you by revealing something that was confidential, or perhaps your partner said something that you cannot unhear. Forgiveness is not about forgetting what happened. Neither is it about pretending that it didn’t happen.
Forgiveness is simply a conscious decision to let the negative emotions go. Holding on to grudges and resentment hurts only you, not the other person. It is like a poison going through your mind and your body. Once you realise this, it will be easier for you to decide to let go of that old baggage and travel through life lightly.
How do I forgive others and myself?
Forgiveness is a process. It is a healing journey that takes us back to our memories and makes us revisit those events that cause suffering in our life and/or in the lives of others. The deepest kind of forgiveness makes us take full responsibility for our part in whatever happened. It takes courage to do so, but it very much worth it.
Here are a few tips that you might find useful to embark on the journey towards letting go:
Realize the damage that resentment and anger create in your life. When we hold onto grudges and cultivate resentment in our hearts, we become more and more bitter and negative. We are so entangled in the past that we miss the present moment.
Take responsibility for your role in that past event that created so much suffering in your life. There is something truly magical in taking responsibility for ourselves. Once we stop playing the role of victim, we regain the control over this situation and sometimes over our life in general.
Think of the person who hurt you with compassion. We are all human beings who sometimes get lost somewhere on the way among many paths of “right” and “wrong”. We all see the world through the filters of our limiting beliefs. When someone hurts you, they just try to fullfill some of their needs. The same is true when you hurt someone. We are all imperfect but these imperfections make us all humane. Realising this, makes it a bit easier to find more compassion in your heart towards yourself and others.
Practice Ho’oponopono mantra. The wisdom and healing that this ancient Hawaiian practice brings is invaluable. It helped me a lot when I needed to awaken forgiveness in my heart. There are a lot of articles and videos about this practice. I encourage you to research it and try it out when you feel stuck in the baggage of the past. This mantra focuses on you and forgiving yourself as you are the only creator of your life. Ho’oponopono mantra is a simple and transformative tool when you need to give yourself (and others) the gift of forgiveness. The mantra goes like this:
I am sorry.
Please forgive me.
I love you.
The order of these sentences may slightly differ when you check different resources teaching this mantra but the healing stays the same.
No matter what old wounds still need to be healed in your life, you are the only person who can make them heal. It is your choice whether you will let the past control your present or whether you will choose to heal whatever needs healing and move on.
Louise L. Hay used to say that we have so much love in our hearts that we could heal the whole Planet. Use that love to let go of emotions that don’t serve you well. Once you do that, you will feel so incredibly free that life will look like an exciting and joyful adventure.
In case you practised forgiveness and you still can’t move on with your life, feel free to message me and we will see how I can help you.