How Do You Forgive: 7 Steps to Freedom

How do you forgive when you've been massively, relentlessly hurt? How do you forgive when your heart feels like it's been sliced into tiny bits and set on fire in a garbage heap?

You might be walking around feeling like a giant flaming wound of misery from the horror that was inflicted on you. Or. You might be experiencing resentment as a quiet background hum that fills your day with irritation and alienation.

Either way, you know you need to shift something.

How Do You Forgive

1. Notice how much it hurts to not be forgiving.

It's a heavy thing to carry around, all that non-forgiveness.  Let yourself feel the weight.

2. Imagine what it would feel like to be completely free from the anger and hurt you feel.

Really imagine it. Take five minutes to do this. Make it vivid. Go.

3. Consider the fact that you feeling angry and hurt is not doing anything to help anyone at all, ever.

In fact, it's probably cramping your style.  It's making you unhappy so you're probably being unpleasant and selfish, as unhappy people usually are.  You would be much more useful to all the rest of us if you felt free and at peace.

4. Remind yourself that just because you forgive, it doesn't mean you have to let the person who harmed you back into your life.

Forgiveness doesn't mean being a doormat.  Letting someone walk all over you isn't kind.  It hurts them because it enables them to be a jerk.  Forgiveness means harboring no ill will in your heart.  It means truly, earnestly, non-sarcastically wishing well for the person who hurt you.

To be explicit: this means not wishing that they go to hell, contract a debilitating disease, become famous in Hollywood or any other of the horrible fates that might befall one.

5.  Remind yourself that you've learned from what you've experienced.

You got the lesson, throughout your whole being.  Your pain taught you the lesson.  You've learned it, it's over.  You don't have to hold on to the suffering of unforgiveness in order to remember your lesson. It's in your mind and heart.  Trust your own intelligence.

You'll never run off and join the travelling carnival and change your name to Talulah again. You know better now.  It's not a good road.

6. Imagine the person that hurt you feeling ecstatically happy, at peace, loved and loving.

Imagine them feeling completely saturated with an abiding delight that cannot ever depart, that is unconditional, that is inalienable from their very being.

Imagine them in beautiful surroundings, doted on by loving people and adorable animals.  See them drinking hot chocolate next to a roaring hearth.

Notice that if they had truly felt this happy and fulfilled to begin with, they probably never would have hurt you.  They would have been too busy being ecstatically enraptured by flowers and cuddly kitties. Folks hurt other people because they're unhappy and not at peace.  Truly happy people hurt no one.

7. Imagine yourself feeling ecstatically happy, at peace, loved and loving.

See yourself in a state of utter relaxation, warmest goodness, utter joy.  Imagine that you're in beautiful surroundings, and you just feel great.  You feel great at such a deep level that you know how great you feel can never be shaken.

In Conclusion

That's it.  Keep doing this reflection every day, devoting lots of time to imagining the person who hurt you feeling happy and to you feeling utterly wonderful, too -- and you'll achieve the forgiveness you're after.

Not only that, but you'll just be happier in general.  And fun stuff will start to happen in your life- weird, cool synchronicities.  You'll get more done.  You'll sleep better. I'm not lying. Try it.

Forgiveness isn't something that happens when you just say, "I forgive him / her / myself." That only works for the very smallest of things, things that didn't even hurt you or offend you that much to begin with.

For stuff That's a Big Deal, you need to go deeper.  You need to engage your imagination to super-charge your good will.  Good will is the juice that makes forgiveness possible.

And the act of forgiving increases the amount of good will that you have.  And then you're better able to forgive, because you've got more juice.  And then things rock.

It's good ju-ju.

Posted on February 7, 2013 and filed under Forgiveness.