"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you". - Lewis B. Smedes
Hurting or injuring ourselves and others by words, actions or deeds is one of life's biggest and most common transgressions. It's universal in the sense that we all do something at some time to ourselves or others that causes emotional pain and suffering. What is often overlooked is the idea of offering and receiving forgiveness for those mistakes.
Anger and resentment are often the byproduct of feeling hurt in some way and it is that energy that can cause both physical and emotional suffering for the person who carries it around. Many physical and emotional pain that people carry around have roots in anger towards another. Most people only consider physical pain as it's related to an injury or illness, without considering how emotional suffering impacts the physical body.
Forgiveness is not a moment but rather a process that can take time and commitment.
The first step towards releasing the energy of pain and cultivating forgiveness is making a conscious decision regarding a specific situation that calls for forgiveness. Once the commitment to forgiveness in that situation occurs, we have access to beginning to clear that toxic energy.
The toolbox of forgiveness:
Recognize and honor the ways you have hurt or inflicted pain onto others. When we recognize our own imperfect moments, it can make it easier to recognize the imperfection of other's mistakes.
Remember that forgiveness doesn't mean reconciliation. Forgiveness is something we do for ourselves to relieve the energy drain of having anger and resentment. It does not necessarily mean we reconnect or allow that person or situation back into our lives.
Ask ourselves how our lives would or could improve by releasing the energy of anger.
Take some action. Writing a letter that documents the hurt and anger can move the energy out of our body. Then we can burn the letter as a way to energetically release it. Sometimes this is a process that has to be done a few times to effectively clear an outstanding hurt.
Imagine the way our lives would improve without the burden of the anger we are carrying around. Would the added energy in our lives be worth the forgiveness. Picture your life, in detail, free of the energetic burden.
Forgiveness is a journey that can take time, effort and deep commitment. Most people would say that the journey is worth the recaptured energy and healing that happens physically and emotionally. Taking small steps towards the goal of forgiveness is a healing journey worth taking to reclaim your energy and joy.