Forgiveness comes more easily when we acknowledge its life-saving grace

We all have a number of people to forgive: those who caused us pain in our past, who made us suffer or took our goodness for granted. Forgiveness comes more easily when we acknowledge its life-saving grace.

‘Forgive’ comes from an old English word originally meaning, “to give completely” or “to give up.” In that sense when we forgive, we do give up: we forgo the anger, bitterness and frustration that arise from retaining resentment against a person. We return these feelings to the universe and shun them from our personal energy field. Relinquished are the negative emotions and the brutal impact they have on our being.

When we forgive, we detach

Being unable to forgive is detrimental to our mind, body and spirit. Emotionally pent-up feelings increase in force and influence over our state of well-being: we become cynical, distrustful of others and insecure in our faith. Mentally, they form clusters of neurons that begin to dominate thought patterns. The more we hold onto our anger, the more we become angry; the more we linger on a bitter memory, the more bitterness overtakes our everyday mood. Science has proven that adverse emotions release harmful chemicals into our bloodstream that enter our cells. Physically, harbouring the past in our hearts makes our bodies sick. Truly, resentment is toxic on all levels of being.

But you can break free from heavy memories and their burden. First, you must understand the four truths of forgiveness:

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1. Understand why

To forgive earnestly, you must pinpoint the reasons it’s necessary. Are emotions originating from an un-peaceful past affecting your present? Do the effects of a former betrayal, break-up, breakdown, or broken heart continue today? Recognise the need to forgive. Identify whom you need to forgive. Then, you can begin the process.

2. Take time

Forgiving is a process, not a result. You cannot instantly forgive someone, because you must slowly wean yourself off of the overwhelming emotions involved. But you can certainly reach forgiveness, step by step, day by day, through small acts that fortify your intention to absolve another. Forgiveness takes time but once you have pardoned, you are liberated.

3. Forgive yourself

The way you treat others is a reflection of the way you regard yourself. You must be happy with yourself in order to foster positive relationships that progress. And being happy with yourself begins by excusing your prior mistakes, however costly they may have been. Remember that, in fact, there are no mistakes – only solutions in the making.

4. Count your blessings

Only when you realise the measure of where you were and where you are now can you incorporate forgiveness into your life. Summarise the lessons you have learned; you are not who you were when you wrongly trusted someone who later hurt you, or when you gave too freely to someone who didn’t deserve it. Counting your blessings serves to show the long, long way you’ve come.

Once you’ve evaluated these elements of forgiveness, you can speak your desire to grant pardon. Practice these affirmations to solidify your resolution to forgive:

I forgive (name). I break the painful bond between us. Each day, I am learning to forgive those who have hurt me. Their actions are powerless over me. I forgive the mistakes of my past and step into a brilliant future. Forgiveness is a virtue I am mastering as I heal my soul.

It is never too late to forgive, nor is any wound too deep to heal through the miracle of clemency. Forgiveness begins through daily introspection, calming affirmations, and small acts that reflect your intent to forget and forge ahead. In time, you will thank yourself for your decision to forgive.

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