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Forgiveness: The Best Way to Start 2010

“When you hold resentment towards another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel.  Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.” (Catherine Ponder)

Forgiveness is a personal process, one that brings deep healing and true freedom.  In last week’s article, I asked you to become aware of past hurts and heartache that were draining your energy and keeping you from fully enjoying your life.  Once you have decided you are ready to forgive, it takes time and focus to move through the process.

The ideas below will support you in your journey to greater personal freedom:

1.  Feel the pain, don’t ignore it.  Don’t judge your pain and don’t deny it.  Don’t stuff it inside.  Instead, let it all out.  Take the time to cry, even scream if that is what you need to do.  Use a journal to get your feelings onto paper or draw a picture of the way a painful memory makes you feel.  Notice your thoughts, your beliefs and your “story.” Write a letter to the person who hurt you (even though you probably won’t send it.).  Doing this allows you to get your thoughts and feeling onto the page where you can see them clearly.   If you don’t deal with the pain fully, it is bound to resurface repeatedly.  If you feel it deeply, acknowledge it and honor it, you can then release it.

2. Ask and you shall receive.  Take time to ask the Universe to help you heal.  Open to guidance in what steps to take in finding greater inner peace.  Ask for courage to let go of old hurts.  Ask for support from friends and family members as you go through the healing process.

3. Step into the other person’s shoes for a few moments.  If you feel the courage to do so, imagine what the person who hurt you might have been going through at the point the incident happened.  By looking at the situation through the eyes of another you might see things from a new perspective.  Often we expect things of others that they may not be capable of.  We may come to understand that the other person’s own deep struggles or past experiences prevented them from being able to meet our expectations of proper treatment.  See instead, they provided us a gift of understanding how we DON’T want to be treated.

4. Stop the “blame game.” Take responsibility for how you feel.  Someone may have hurt you but it is your choice to linger in the past.  When you hold a grudge you are punishing yourself, not the other person.  Remember, each of us has more personal power than we have yet realized.  Blaming drains you and keeps you from seeing the opportunity you have to grow.

5. Find the pearls of wisdom.  The beauty of the past is found in the pearls of wisdom we can carry with us into the present.  If you experienced the pain, why not gain something from it?  As you think of what you’ve gone through ask yourself, “What have I learned from this situation that will help me in my journey?” Take time to jot your ideas down on paper.  Do you want to be bitter or better because of what you experienced?

6. Start fresh each moment.  Each present moment in our lives is an opportunity to begin anew.  So why bring memories of the past into Now?  If you see your mind focusing on past hurts, tell it to stop.  Instead, take a deep breath.  Focus on the beauty of THIS moment.  What do you see, hear, taste, touch or feel that brings you joy?
Choose to turn your attention to the person or task before you.  Find something worthwhile, hopeful or encouraging in it.  Make it your responsibility to keep yourself cheered up.

7. Drop your baggage.  If you find yourself picking up the heavy burdens of the past, simply drop them.  You have the power to throw off the heaviness of past stories again and again.  By doing so, you will begin to realize how much energy it takes to pick up and carry these loads.

8. Consider moving on.  If the “offender” is still part of your daily life, you may need to take steps to “leave” your situation (even literally).  Notice your patterns.  Are you caught in a recurring cycle of abuse in spite of your efforts to relate in healthier ways?  If so go inside and ask for clarity and help to see a way out of a situation.  Only you can know what is best for you.  You can’t heal a wound with forgiveness if the wound continues to be opened again and again.

9. Don’t forget to forgive yourself.  We often hold grievances against ourselves, don’t we?  As you forgive yourself for things you feel guilty about, you will become more able to take good care of yourself.  Guilt does not promote healing; it invites abuse.  Be merciful to yourself. When we feel guilty or unworthy we tend to put ourselves into situations that reinforce our misery.  If you want to be treated with greater respect, love and admiration, you must first choose to respect, love and admire yourself.

Be aware:  Forgiveness is a journey.   You may feel you’ve forgiven a person one day and find that the next day, anger or hurt resurfaces bringing up layers of pain you weren’t aware of.  Don’t fret if this occurs.  Simply bring the feelings to your full awareness and walk through the process of forgiveness again.  Be patient with yourself and give yourself time to heal deeply.
Think about how different you would be if you actually completed this process with some of the painful memories in your life.  Would you be more relaxed?  Would you have more energy?  Would you be better able to focus and be creative?
Your assignment this week is to choose at least one situation that you need to forgive.  Use the above steps to focus on letting go of old hurts so that you can begin 2010 with a clear mind, a happy heart and a refreshed spirit.


Be proud of yourself.
You are remembering your True Being.
Stay centered in each moment:
Don’t carry baggage from past or future.
It only weighs you down.
Let go.  Release those who have hurt you.
In doing so, you release yourself to
soar higher in your life.


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.