VOL # 11–FORGIVENESS–FOR GIVING YOURSELVES FREEDOM.–LIFE SERIES.
Posted May 18, 2009on:
CONFUCIUS: “The more you know yourself, the more you forgive yourself.”
The practice of self forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the self and the world. Forgiveness involves letting go and surrender of judgment and condemnation. Forgiveness of yourself or someone else, though not easy, can transform your life. Researchers have recently become interested in studying the effects of being “unforgiving” and being “forgiving”. Evidence is mounting that holding on to grudges and bitterness results in long-term health problems.
Forgiveness, on the other hand, offers numerous benefits: Lower blood pressure, Stress reduction, Less hostility, Better anger management skills, Lower heart rate, Lower risk of alcohol or substance abuse, Fewer depression symptoms, Fewer anxiety symptoms, Reduction in chronic pain, more friendships, healthier relationships, Improved psychological and spiritual well-being.
Nearly everyone has been hurt by the actions or words of another. Your mother criticized your parenting skills. Your friend gossiped about you. Your partner had an affair. These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger, bitterness and even vengeance.
The energy of “unforgiveness” feels heavy, pressure filled, tight, absolutely no inner space to breathe. This is because we hold on to grudges and resentments and we are collecting the hurtful energies within us as it is extremely difficult to let go and forget.
As I have been suggesting, sharing and offering in my Life series, that those who choose and long for freedom need to make a commitment to start everything with self, first. So again even forgiveness needs to start with self.We need to initiate self forgiveness so that we can start giving freedom to ourselves.
Nature is our true teacher. Everything in nature goes through changes. We know that the seed becomes a plant and then a tree and then bears fruits. We know that a conceived foetus changes to form the human embryo that changes into an infant. Nothing can stay the same. Everything needs to change as that is the law of the Universe. Every condition can be transmuted and everything is always changing. Energy cannot be destroyed or created but yes energy can be transmuted. This is the Cosmic law.
In the same way the energy of unforgiveness can be changed into forgiveness only when we make the choice, we all have a free will. We all need to be conscious of what is it that I want to create in my own life? This is being conscious and aware.
We all have the resentful, judgmental personality that resides in us. First and foremost we need to begin by bringing awareness and acceptance to this aspect with kindness. We need to allow it to be present in us and feel it in our bodies with kindness. Attention with intention begins the inner work of transformation. We need to embrace our imperfections and limitations with kindness.
Notice where in your body do you feel the energy of unforgiveness. Be with the energy with kindness. Notice the thoughts present around the unforgiving experience. Breathe and be with the energies with kindness. No judgements, no labels simply being present. Stay with all the feelings that get triggerred from this exercise.
Do the above at your own pace. When it feels uncomfortable stop and be there with yourself. It is important that each one of us begins with self kindness. Bear in mind that you can’t force someone to forgive you. They will need to move to forgiveness in their own time. However you can choose to begin with self. Holding on to resentment against yourself can be just as toxic as holding on to resentment against someone else. Recognize that poor behavior or mistakes don’t make you worthless or bad. Accept the fact that you — like everyone else — aren’t perfect. Accept yourself despite your faults. Admit your mistakes. Instead of dwelling on the injustice and revenge, instead of being angry and bitter, you can move toward a life of peace, compassion, mercy, joy and kindness.
Forgiveness is not about condoning another’s hurtful actions, it is about releasing your negative emotions and perceptions about the painful events. Otherwise you keep yourself chained to those events or people – you keep it alive within you – and you carry it with you where-ever you go. It is a very heavy burden to carry around and you end up crippling yourself emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically.
To forgive does not mean we agree with or condone inappropriate behavior, it means we are willing to let go, move on or free ourselves from the burden of resentment.
STEPS TO FORGIVENESS.
1) A) Journal or write about your feelings, what happened and let it all out. Express yourself.
B) You may also simply speak it all out but remember to stay with the feelings.
2) Take responsibility for your part in the issues, disagreement or problem. It is often helpful to look at how you may do things differently next time, so you can learn from this experience.
3) Consider whether you are even willing to forgive yet. If not I would recommend that you take some steps to work through the underlying feelings you are still carrying around, such as anger, hurt or a myriad of other emotions. When you are unwilling go back to step 1 and repeat until you feel willingness beginning to emerge.
4) Make the decision to forgive anyone involved in the situation. Don’t forget yourself if you need it too. Decide if you need to say or write anything to anyone involved to get your feelings out and be heard. The person you are forgiving does not need to be willing or present for you to complete this process. You can ask an objective person to be on the receiving end if you don’t feel safe or comfortable going to the person who you are upset with. You can visualize that you are speaking to that person when you are speaking to a friend or an objective listener.
5) Let go! Keep in mind you are choosing to forgive, if you are holding on to a belief that the other person has to do something before you’ll forgive you are choosing to remain stuck. If you find situations re-stimulating the old feelings of hurt you may need to repeat step 1.
Keep in mind this process is not easy but it is very rewarding and can be very freeing. Often times we have to act our way into feeling differently by reminding ourselves that we have chosen forgiveness for a particular situation or problem until we get back to that place of peace!
When someone you care about hurts you, you can hold on to anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge or embrace forgiveness and move forward. When you don’t practice forgiveness, you may be the one who pays most dearly. By embracing forgiveness, you embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy.
We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies
It is in giving that we receive, so let’s begin with giving forgiveness so that we receive freedom, peace, joy and infinite vastness and spaciousness.
Freedom to all.
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