I want to tell you something important about forgiveness, and I think it could shift a lot of things for you:
Forgiveness doesn’t need to involve anyone else.
That is great news, because not only do you not owe anyone anything in order to create your own inner peace, but you also do not need anyone else to cooperate with you. Forgiveness around all kinds of past and present grievances is available to you now, today. The other party concerned doesn’t even need to be alive anymore, so you’re never too late.
Before we get to the self-forgiveness part, it’s important that you have properly acknowledged, felt and released the underlying feelings connected to the situation that you feel needs some forgiveness. Only once you have done that is it time to look at the residual energy that is still there. By this stage, that residual energy is mostly to do with you, and little to do with the other party.
And that’s great news, because then you get to release it fully.
The most freedom is available in focusing our forgiveness on the beliefs and judgements that were formed inside of us as a result of the event(s) that took place. Not on the events themselves.
Let me walk you through it with a concrete example.
Imagine you were in a relationship and you felt deeply hurt by the actions of the other person in the relationship. Perhaps you were betrayed, neglected or the other person did not consider your needs. You decided to leave the relationship or take some form of distance.
But that probably wasn’t before you bought into some ideas like that you weren’t worthy of having a healthy relationship, that you don’t deserve to have someone in your life who considers your needs or that you had to make yourself available to people who don’t value you and the importance of cultivating a healthy, functional relationship.
None of these things are true, but they accurately reflect the misunderstandings we often take on as a result of what happens in our lives.
And that is where we must focus our attention when we decide to step into (self-)forgiveness.
Such a circumstance often leaves us with feelings of anger, sadness, guilt, regret, frustration or any number of big-energy emotions. As mentioned, the first step to letting go of the past and moving on, is to feel what needs to be felt. For instance, to write a letter (that you never send) expressing your full truth–in all of its colour and rage if necessary, take a few boxing classes for some nice cathartic release, or take steps to remove yourself from the physical and online proximity of the person. There are loads of ways to release those emotions, but that’s for another article.
Back to those beliefs and misunderstandings–it can help to list out these old ideas and beliefs we took on board, and to re-write the truth of our situation. A new truth that evokes more personal power might be:
I am worthy and capable of meeting my own needs, myself or with the help of others. I am no longer available to people who do not value co-creating a healthy relationship with me. I lovingly attract and participate in building healthy relationships.
This is the level we can best work at to free ourselves from the grievances of the past and create the space inside to be kind to ourselves. This review and release process itself also requires a healthy dose of compassion.
Take it slowly, piece by piece.
Forgiveness is not about condoning actions. And please… run a mile from anyone who tells you that you must forgive those who have harmed you. You don’t “must” do anything of the sort.
That gets to be your decision.
Forgiveness is about healing the way you relate to yourself and becoming your own best advocate. It's about personal freedom, and creating room for new life-affirming experiences to enter your space.
You deserve that kind of unconditional support. Will you get curious about how you can begin that today?