Forgiveness is an act of release. When we forgive ourselves and the hurtful actions of others, we free ourselves from the heavy burden of resentment.
This is probably one of the most difficult Warrior Rules to really implement and understand. So first, let’s set the record straight.
When you forgive someone that doesn’t mean you condone their mistreatment of you, or whatever transpired to cause the rift in the relationship. Far from it. Forgiveness means coming to a place where you are tired of being angry. Resentful. Hurt. Those emotions are a heavy burden to carry, and the longer you haul them around, the heavier they become.
Holding a grudge is like lugging a hundred pound weight on your back. Believe me, I would know because I’ve been the Queen of Grudges. I’ve held grudges so long, I don’t even remember what in the hell happened that was so bad that I’ve now carried it around with me for years. And with each year I refuse to let it go: guess what?
It gets heavier.
Humans are incredible creatures. The amazing moments fly by so fast, because we become lost in the euphoria of that trip overseas, or that mystical retreat in the mountains. Other than some snapshots taken, our brain has a funny way of shuffling those magic moments into the back storage, only to be summoned when a certain song, smell, or conversation retriggers it.
But bad memories?
You know the ones that need forgiving? Those bad boys stick right up front. They are top of the heap. It seems like everything we encounter in a day reminds us of that issue, challenge, fight, falling out.
The wrong that was dumped on us.
I’ve found over the years, there are some keys to making your way towards forgiveness. And I say making your towards it, because this isn’t something that happens spontanously.
It’s a journey. So cliche, and yet so true.
Here are the keys to forgive so you can set yourself free.
Key #1: Forgive yourself
I mean really forgive yourself, for all the things you wish you hadn’t done (sorry, unless you have a time machine, there’s no changing the past) and for all the things you wish you had. Now that one, you do have control over, so if there are things you want to do, DO THEM.
Stop expending so much energy beating up on yourself about it and take some kind of small action towards those things you want most. The most essential part of this first key, is to remember you’re human. Which means you were born to make mistakes. That’s how we hopefully learn and do better. Nobody is perfect, so stop walking around with a chip on your shoulder that you aren’t.
Key #2: Forgive Life Circumstances
It’s easy to look around and see the ridiculously diverse (and sometimes seemingly unfair) life circumstances we all deal with. Some folks are so rich they can’t spend it all in ten lifetimes, while others must work three jobs to barely make ends meet. Some people who take piss-poor care of their bodies seem to be invincible, while others who do everything right end up with debilitating diseases and handicaps. If we get too caught up in the comparison game, many of us begin to adopt a belief that Life is the Enemy and it’s out to get us. I want to flip that script and say, life is your coach, and we all came down with a different set of obstacles in order to properly train us for our invidivual marathon. Life is your friend, even when it feels like it’s beating you, forgive it and find a way to rise above your circumstances.
Key # 3: Forgive Others
Before you master Key 1 & Key 2, there is little to no chance of mastering this one. I am currently doing my very best to since I have Key 1 & Key 2 firmly in my grasp.
I don’t like it when someone hurts me. Betrays me. Tricks or undermines me. Nobody does. And I’m definitely not keen on keeping those types of people in my life, because past behavior tells me they will repeat those same hurtful actions. For many years, I thought forgiving someone meant, forgetting their transgressions and giving them the opportunity to show me they’d changed.
My perception of forgiveness has matured so much since those days.
I learned the hard way that isn’t how it works. Unless the offender has worked Key 1 & Key 2 they will unfortuantely most likely repeat history and thus the process begins all over again.
Forgivness is an an act of self love.
It is looking at the one who has hurt you, understanding they are caught in their own life drama which makes them act and do things that they aren’t really in control of. The fact those things have a determental effect on others isn’t something they are capable of seeing. So we can have compassion and forgive someone – to free ourselves – of their toxic hold on us.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean we forget or allow repeat offenders back into our inner sanctum. It’s simply a gift to ourselves of letting go of our resentment, anger and pain and a choice to stop blaming ourselves for WHY this relationship or situation didn’t work out.
To forgive is not to forget, it is a means to liberation.
KEY #1: Forgive Yourself
Make a list of all the things you’ve done and said that you regret and haunt you. If this involves other people, you might write a letter to them, make a phone call, or simply set aside some quiet time, light a candle and voice these things outloud, bless them for what you learned and simply say: I FORGIVE MYSELF.
Key #2: Forgive Life
Start paying attention to your internal dialogue. Start LOOKING for things in life to be thankful for, to see the good in, and see how those things have a positive impact on your life. Pull your focus off things that make you envious, angry or resentful of life circumstances. An example of this is when you go to pay your bills, instead of complaining and becoming angry at the price of things, instead say THANK YOU for having the means to support your lifestyle and keep yourself comfortable.
KEY #3 Forgive Others
Make a list of those who have done you wrong. Especially the ones that really are a burden and continue to weigh you down. Focus on one person at a time. Recall the good memories and things they did right. Recall the reasons you parted ways and forgive them for disappointing you, and remind yourself this was their shortcoming not yours. Repeat outloud I FORGIVE YOU. Do not move onto the next person or situation until you FEEL the forgiveness. You will feel lighter, and the release of that toxic block when it happens. Once you have released a person or situation, move onto the next and lighten the burden you’ve been carrying.