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“Forgiving others is essential for spiritual growth”
So said the late, great Dr. Wayne W Dyer, and he knew a LOT about personal, spiritual growth and development. He knew that without forgiveness, spiritual growth doesn’t happen, it doesn’t have a chance. Without forgiveness, we get stuck inside loops of repetition, blame and self sabotage. Without forgiveness, we’re still handing our power over to somebody or something else, and however hard we try and however much effort we put in, we cannot rise.
That’s the main misconception that many people still hold onto when it comes to forgiveness: its not for the benefit of the offender. Its not for the person who wronged or hurt you, its not about giving them any more than they’ve already taken. It is wholly, completely, fully for, and in support of YOU.
The recent, shocking media disclosure of the abuse, trauma and pain suffered by so many in the film industry coincides with the slow beginnings of the process of our collective unification. As horrible as it is to face, seeing and accepting these kinds of hidden abuses of power is the first step we need to take. We cannot evolve as a species, unless we lay bare our pain, before attempting to integrate and heal from it.
The next step is forgiveness.
What is Forgiveness?
A really great definition of forgiveness, which is generally agreed upon is that it’s a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you. Whether or not they actually deserve your forgiveness doesn’t matter (it’s not about them, remember?) Forgiveness isn’t denying the harm or pain that’s been inflicted on you. It’s not pretending it didn’t happen, or belittling its severity. Forgiveness is a tool to prevent further harm being done, in the form of resentments, anger and emotional blocks, related to the first offence.
It’s a tool of re-empowerment.
How to Forgive
Forgiveness isn’t always easy. But with practice, not only will it get easier but you’ll notice your life shifting, as you release one form of energy from your being, and consciously replace it with another.
This step by step method is a simple way to begin. You may notice some steps are more difficult, and take longer. And some may need to be repeated over and over before they take root. The important thing is not to give up!
1. Get clear about who and what you need to forgive
This is vital to get right, because without being absolutely certain who and what has hurt you so much, the work you do next won’t be effective. It can be a really useful practice to write it down on paper, or even to write a letter to the perpetrator, describing what happened (don’t send it! It’s for your eyes only!) Writing also serves the purpose of externalizing your pain, which is one step closer to removing it completely.
2. Feel your pain
Allow your feelings to rise. Experience them. Give them as much space to exist in your body as they need, to be fully felt. Let them be real and true. It maybe painful, but this is critical for two reasons:
First, by feeling your pain, you are owning it. You are beginning to call back in your power, and by consciously holding your pain, you can decide what to do with it.
Secondly, when you allow yourself to feel your pain, resentment, anger or whatever it is you need to feel, it is on the cusp of departing from your field: you have brought it close enough to the surface of your being to be released.
3. Consciously Surrender
At this point, you have the power to decide to let your feelings go.
It’s likely they’ll be complex– the initial pain or trauma will have surfaced, as well as more recent resentments and fear or anger-based feelings, directed toward your aggressor. Let them all go.
It may help to speak your intention out loud: something like…
“I release all feelings of resentment toward….. They do not belong to me any more. I release all feelings of pain related to….. This pain does not belong to me any more. If ever they resurface, I promise to let them go”.
This can be really difficult, so many people ask their spiritual allies to help them with this step – if you have guides or angels, ask them to take your pain from you.
4. Rebuild Boundaries
Take some time to reflect on how you want your life and relationships to be different from now on, and what you can do to prevent similar pain or trauma being inflicted again. Once you have some clarity on what needs to change, it’s time to create some new boundaries, which means being certain of the kinds of treatment and behavior that you will and won’t accept. This may mean ending a relationship and cutting off contact. Or it may require careful and kind discussions to create a whole new framework for an existing one.
Try to remain compassionate, to yourself and the other person throughout this step, but do not agree to anything you’re not happy with.
5. Move on
Now you are allowed to move on and away and into a bright new future! So look forward, and not back.
It’s likely that some of the feelings you have worked to release will pop back up, and this is normal so don’t berate yourself. Just go back through the steps and it will happen less and less. Forgiveness is about finding a new pathway, so embrace it, even if it feels like unknown territory.
This is what emotional freedom feels like!
Forgiveness is hard, hard work but it’s unavoidable if you’re on a spiritual path.
Do you have any more tools or tricks that work especially well for you?
Share your journey with us below, and let’s help each other along on our healing paths.