It’s said that holding on to the hurt and pain that someone has caused you, is akin to letting someone live rent-free in your head. And it’s true. Forgiveness is sometimes a difficult choice to make, but it’s a choice that enables you to let go of those things that are keeping you stuck and gives you the opportunity to free yourself up, to move forward.
As difficult as it can be to forgive others, it can be even harder to forgive yourself. We can be our own worst enemy, torturing ourselves with our mistakes, replaying things in our head and talking to ourselves in a way we’d never talk to anyone else. If we want to move forward, we need to learn how to forgive ourselves and others.
What forgiveness isn’t
It’s important to recognise that forgiveness isn’t about forgetting – and it certainly isn’t about condoning another person’s behaviour either. These are the two biggest concerns voiced, when asked why we haven’t forgiven someone for their actions. We worry about how it looks to others or how the person who ‘wronged’ us benefits from it and that we’re ‘letting them off the hook’. If it’s ourselves that we need to forgive – we worry that we’re not ‘punishing’ ourselves enough for the mistake we made. We use that mistake to belittle and berate ourselves – something that isn’t going to help us be happy or become the person we want to be – the lack of forgiveness will just keep us miserable and stuck.
Forgiveness is about power
Forgiveness is about regaining your personal power. It’s about learning how to let go and live in the moment. Holding onto negative emotions affects our body, mind and soul – and this can manifest in any number of ways – from ailments, aches, pains and negative thoughts, feelings and beliefs. If you’re focused on a wrongdoing or event that caused you pain, regardless of whether it’s you or another person who caused that to happen, YOU’RE living in the past – and this is why you can’t move forward.
What forgiveness means to you
Although forgiveness may be a difficult act to carry out, it has so many benefits to the forgiver. Primarily, it’s a personal self-growth action that frees you – from the stuck negative energy associated with the anger, pain and regret you’re feeling, it gives you the impetus to move forward and it gives you the opportunity to move yourself forward. Forgiveness is about happiness.
How to forgive and move forward
Forgiveness begins with acknowledgement – acknowledging what happened and the feelings you’re experiencing, as a result. This acknowledgement can be achieved through either talking to an impartial person or journaling your thoughts. This gives you the space to express your feelings and begin the healing process.
The next step is to implement your boundaries. What can you do differently to avoid it happening again? Sometimes, boundary setting means letting someone go or restricting contact with another person – but that comes from a place of love – love for yourself.
Once your boundaries are in place, it’s time to forgive yourself. If you’re not respecting yourself, it can be a lot easier for someone to follow your lead – and disrespect and hurt you. But it’s important that you acknowledge your own boundaries too – by treating yourself with respect and love. Stop talking down to yourself and belittling yourself, and begin talking to yourself with the love and respect you deserve.
Forgiveness is a process of love, that you choose to implement for you. It’s about stepping into your personal power and freeing yourself up, to live a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life – one where you demonstrate how much love and respect you have for yourself and one where you can move confidently forward, stronger and more positively.