Forgiving someone is not always easy, especially when you feel you have been wronged. But holding on to hate and resentment can sap your energy, affect your health and prevent you from getting on with your life. To forgive is a deeply personal thing – you can forgive someone even if you don’t or can’t share it with the person you are forgiving. The good news is that no matter how difficult it may seem there are ways to move forward – these are 4 of the most powerful ways that you can reap the healing power of forgiveness in your life.
Write it out!
Writing can be immensely healing. Writing in a journal can help to clarify your thoughts and feelings so that you become clear about why you feel the hurt you do. There are many resources available online and in print that can help with guided journal writing. It’s great to let it all out on the page – don’t censor yourself, just write. The quicker you write the better. Now, after you’re done venting, forgive. Write that out, too. When you’re done, write down 3 things that you are grateful for today.
Burn it up.
Rituals have strong healing powers. When you are ready to say goodbye to your resentment for good, then you are ready also to start planning your healing ritual. It is important that this is a personal act so make it individual to you. You might think about writing a letter to the person you need to forgive. You don’t have to send it the letter and you can make it as detailed, or as short as you please. When you are done, let it go. Burn it, bury it, tear it into tiny pieces and throw it into the ocean. It doesn’t matter, as long as it is meaningful for you. Rejoice in the feeling of freedom that you have!
You can’t change the past, but you can choose how you react today. Making the decision to begin meditating is a very wise first step on the path to experiencing the powerful healing that you can experience from forgiveness. A University of California study in 2008 (Oman et al.) showed that meditation can lower stress and significantly improve forgiveness. It is not difficult to learn to meditate and the health benefits can be profound. As you progress with your meditation you will find the way that you view things will begin to change. You will be able to separate and clarify your feelings and begin to see that you are not your feelings. Sure, they are important, but they are not ‘you’. Like filtering dirty water, meditation can help you see what your life can be like when you are able to let go of the psychological rubbish you are carrying within you.
Step out of those victim’s clothes.
For some people, a change in physical appearance can really help move forward. As you decide to let go of your anger and hatred, and instead embrace acceptance and joy, you might feel that you want to celebrate this turning point in your life. Treat yourself to a new haircut or some colorful new clothes and call a friend. Meet your friend for coffee or a meal and celebrate this turning point in your life. If you like, you can tell your friend why you are celebrating but you don’t have to go into details. Sharing with a friend can help make your decision feel more real and start to really cement your new way of looking at life.