Crossing the bridge from pain to purpose.
One of the first steps in forgiving is to recognize and acknowledge the pain and hurt, the anger, the disillusionment, the depression etc. – whatever I am feeling. I have a right to those feelings! No amount of crying: denying or feeling guilty about those feelings, is going to help me in the long run. Identify – name those feelings, whatever they may be – this is an important part of the process of moving on.
Forgiveness requires that we give space to our grief, anger and incomprehension regarding the violence we have experience, and have our pain recognized and given due regard. Living forgiveness has nothing to do with not feeling hate or harm for the one who has hurt us. Is is about acknowledging the validity of our sometimes violent emotions in the face of what has happened.
Forgiveness means taking seriously what has happened and not minimizing it; drawing out the sting in the memory that threatens to poison my entire existence.
Stuff to think about…
Know why it matters. Think about how you feel when you’re angry, upset and resentful: your muscles are clenched, your heart is pounding and your stomach is turning. All the stress you feel when you have not forgiven someone, can and will do a number on both your mental and physical health! Healing your mind and softening your heart can heal your body! Not forgiving is self-destructive. Not forgiving is like taking a small dose of poison daily.
Forgiveness is a gift you nurture so that you can give it to yourself. Prayer will lead you to both strength and consolation.
Get help along the way, whether it is from a professional person, a spiritual person or simply from the people you love.
Forgiveness is a process. It takes time, it is as individual a process as I am, I have to learn to accept where I am on the journey.
Refocus your emotion. When you’re feeling stressed and anxious because of an unresolved hurtful situation, take some time to settle down. Slowly breathe in and push your belly out. Then breathe out and relax your belly. Repeat a couple of times. On your third inhalation, think of someone you love. Keep breathing peacefully. Instead of asking the hurt and angry part of you what to do, tune in to the relaxed and loving part of you and look for answers there.
Refrain the picture. The term is based on a metaphor: changing the frame of the picture can enable us to see the picture in a new way. Re-framing refers to the process of seeing the situation, the one who committed the offense, and/or ourselves in a new or different way, so that we have a better context in which to make the decision to forgive. Seeing someone in a larger context can give us an insight into behavior. Re-framing is not intended to excuse the one who has done the harm – However it can allow us to have some insight into what might have caused them to do such a thing. What were the circumstances which led them to act in this way? When I consider my own situation – I am in a better position to make the decision to forgive.
Forgiveness does not meant that I must (or even should) forget about what was done to me.
Stop saying “forgive and forget” -
try to say
“forgive and remember differently”.
Each time I remember – I can forgive – this is my power over evil and harm. What happened to me, happened, period! The thing I want to forget the most is the first thing I am going to remember. Forgiving does not have to mean forgetting. Jesus came to take away sins, not my brain or my memories! Instead of trying to forget, I can ask myself what can I learn from this, so that I can become a better or a stronger person.
It can not be forced – it is a gift – there are no “ought to” and “should haves” about it.
Remember that the decision to forgive the person; the decision to let go of the hurt and pain he or she caused me does not imply that I condone or excuse what the person did.
I do not even demand that the one who offended be sorry or repent for what he or she did, althoughforgivenss is more difficult in these cases. Forgiveness is my decison: it doe not depend on anyone else or anything else. Forgiveness is different from reconciling. You can choose to forgive and choose not to resume the relationship.
Is is my decision to lay aside the burden of hurt and pain. Not to do so only allows the person to continue to harm me. I continue to carry the burden of anger and resentment, a burden which keeps me from getting on with my life.
Change the channel. Quit watching endless reruns of “My mother was cold and distant” in your head. Instead, try consciously to look around for positive life-giving things, – a sunset, a smile, a ball game i.e. anything – just when you hear yourself playing the same tape – change the channel for your own sake (and for the sake of those who have heard the endless repeats).
Forgiveness is the conscious decision to let go of the anger and resentment I feel towards someone who has hurt me. If I am holding on to a grudge, the only one that I am hurting is myself. Forgiving someone is about as personal as it gets – I am hurt, and only I can figure out how I am going to heal. Forgiveness is not a sugary, sentimental feeling of benevolence toward this person who hurt me – it is a decision not to let this anger turn into resentment and self pity which sours my outlook on life, casts me into the role of victim and gives me stomach ulcers.
Forgiveness is the search for understanding. If we are to move beyond being victims, we have to go eventually beyond condemnation to understanding what has happened, why it happened, how it changed me and what can we do to free ourselves of being more than that of a victim. Victims may want to hold a grudge because it gives them a regained sense of control and superiority. However, when nursing a grudge, you are essentially stuck in the victim role and inviting anger to become a companion in your everyday life and a toxin to your body.
Information courtesy of www.redemptorists.ca