Forgiveness takes great strength. It’s about having the courage to accept, then let go of what happened. Not condoning it, yet no longer wishing it could have been different somehow. Gently moving out of the place in the past where you’re stuck, struggling, hurting, angry.
Going beyond retaliation or justice-seeking, to a more peaceful place. It’s about respecting yourself, nurturing your needs and consciously choosing to treat yourself kindly in the present. By letting go, you’re actively making space to let more freedom in.
Holding a grudge towards others, or yourself, can hurt a great deal and significantly hold you back. Conversely, making the courageous choice to let go can finally release you from the clutches of the past.
What are the four steps of forgiveness?
Use empathy as a way of practising compassion in difficult situations, or at times you feel utterly wronged. Listen deeply to how the other person is feeling, try to see things from their perspective and do your best to understand. You may realise you have made someone else feel that way in the past, too. Nobody’s perfect, right?
Practice self-compassion as you support yourself to let go. What’s done is done and ruminating on the matter is keeping you stuck in that moment, which you wouldn’t recommend a friend should do.
Instead, gently ask yourself: ‘What do I need right now to help me move forward?’ and take steps to meet your needs.
If you’re feeling overcome with resentment, take this opportunity to better understand yourself. Allow yourself to be with whatever it is you are feeling, without blaming others, or yourself, for what arises.
Sit with it as you let it unfold and eventually melt away, soothing yourself with the knowledge that it will pass in time, and ultimately you’re in control of how you feel, not the other way around.
Give loving-kindness (metta bhavana) meditation a try. It will help to boost your wellbeing and strengthen your compassion ahead of time – empowering you to choose love and acceptance more easily.
By working on your inner peace, you’ll find it much easier to stay balanced in potentially stressful situations involving other people.
Photos by Court Prather, Priscilla du Preez and Omar Lopez on Unsplash.