forgiveness is a skill
Forgiveness – for·give·ness /ˌfərˈɡivnəs/ the act of no longer feeling anger or resentment towards someone (or yourself).
While we all know the concept of forgiveness, but it can be extremely difficult to really understand it, never mind put it into practice. There are so many layers to it, and many times we make an effort to forgive someone, but then as soon as one bad memory comes up, the anger, hurt and resentment all come racing back, throwing forgiveness right out of the window.
Wasn’t life so much simpler as a child? One ‘sorry’ held the key to fixing everything that was wrong in our world. But we are adults now and that isn’t how it works. However, before you are too hard on yourself, did you know that forgiveness is actually a learned skill? We are not born into the world knowing how to do it automatically, it takes time for all of those negative feelings to process, and that is OK!
Sometimes forgiveness almost seems unnatural, because our internal sense of fairness tells us that people should pay for their wrongs. And one of the hardest thing about practicing forgiveness in our daily lives is that it requires us to confront our feelings toward the closest people to us. It is difficult enough to forgive a stranger we might never see again, but it is so much more difficult to forgive a person we love and trust. So even when you think that you have “Blessed & Released”, and come to terms with what has happened, there are probably still some buried emotions about the event that you have pushed out of your mind that will come out again once something is triggered.
No matter what the circumstances are, and how challenging it can be as a ‘grown-up’, forgiveness really is a gift that you give to yourself. It allows you to return to a peaceful place within yourself. So what do you do when you find yourself struggling with all this? Decide today to do something about it. For example one thing you can try on your own is a forgiveness exercise. The below is adapted from the Stanford Forgiveness Project:
01. Get a paper and pen. Make a list of all the people you feel have wronged you in some way. Write each one down and why it was not not OK.
02. Acknowledge that those things did happen, and that they did hurt you.
03. Make a commitment to do what you need to do in order to feel better.
04. Recognize that your anger is coming from the thoughts that you have about what happened, and your thoughts are within your control.
05. When you start getting upset about those past experiences ask yourself, “What am I thankful for?”
06. Focus your energy into looking for ways to achieve happiness by letting the anger go, instead of using your energy on re-living the negative experiences over and over in your head. (We call this: Blessing & Releasing).
In the end the best advice we can give if you find yourself still having some difficulty practicing forgiveness, is to please get in touch with us to learn more about our Forgiveness Clinics with Maya Badran and how she can help guide you through all your emotions and help you navigate this tricky skill. Maya is available every other Thursday throughout the month of July and August.