Many people have reached out to me for advice on how to forgive someone after I forgave the young man who brutally attacked me in February 2016.
is my belief that ALL acts of forgiveness are of equal value and importance. Sometimes it feels harder to forgive a
parent, spouse, or lover for something they did that hurt you than it is
to forgive a total stranger for a much "bigger" misdeed. That is because when we have an emotional connection to someone, we feel betrayed when that person whom we love and trust lets us down.
A Course in Miracles says that there is no order or hierarchy in acts of kindness or love and that all mistakes should be forgiven. Keep in mind that forgiving someone doesn't mean that you should put yourself in a position for them to hurt you again. It means that you let go of the anger and pain around the incident. It means that you stop punishing them and yourself for what has already passed.
We cannot change what has already happened but we can change what it means. We can decide to make something good come out of the thing that hurt us. It was that awareness that directed me to forgive my attacker and ultimately write my book, Taming The Tokolosh: Through Fear into Healing
Coincidentally, over the years I've published many articles right on this site with specific strategies on how to forgive someone . They all start with the same first step: Deciding that you WANT to forgive and let go.
I know that is not always easy. But it is essential for your happiness in life. If you feel blocked in this regard, you may want to begin with heart-opening exercises like this self healing technique.
This interview by the founders of the Marriage Restoration Project, Shlomo and Rivka Slatkin, on the topic of letting go of emotional baggage in relationships, happened soon after I forgave my attacker. We talk about getting to that first step of forgiveness here:
Think about it: You can NOT possibly be happy and resentful at the same time. Pick one!
1. If you can't go all the way, loosen your grip.
Most people dig themselves into a
position by needing to be “right.” If you are not ready to let go and you
choose to remain resentful for now, that is okay. Forgive yourself for
your humanity, then open yourself up to
the possibility of choosing again by affirming that you indeed want to "let go" of the grievance.
In other words, choose consciously, and when your choice is not in line with your greater good, do your best to loosen your grip a bit and say something like: "I really want to let go of this grievance and release myself from these negative feelings. Perhaps I'm not ready at this moment but I am growing each and every day. I pray that I am able to let this go. I want to let this go and I will let this go."
2. Changing perceptual positions in your mind is a very useful exercise
for loosening your grip on a position. If you imagine a situation from different points of view, experiencing it from an observer position -- and, depending on the situation -- the perspective of the person who hurt you, it helps you to see a situation in a more balanced way. It also helps you get honest with yourself about you own role in the circumstance which is helpful to your personal development.
3. Practice makes perfect. The more you practice forgiveness, the easier it gets.
4. SELF–acceptance and self-forgiveness play a huge role in forgiving others. Healing deep wounds of unworthiness and unconscious guilt makes everything easier. That is because a lot of our outward "suffering" is a projection of what is happening inside.
Forgiveness is possible for each one of us, we are all capable of it and most importantly, deserve it.
To order Mandy's Forgiveness and Self Appreciation Audio Program, you can do that here
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