Nearly everyone has wronged another and may have long been forgiven but for some of us we struggle to forgive others.
For many, forgiving is a very difficult thing to do. Most believe by forgiving someone, they are simply condoning what the other person did to them. This is simply not true! Forgiveness is the experience of finding peace inside and can neither be compelled nor stopped by another.
It is a gift you give to yourself and not something you do for someone else. Though many may think it is complicated, it is actually simple.
All one needs to start off with, in the forgiveness process, is simply identifying the situation to be forgiven and ask yourself: “Am I willing to waste my energy further on this matter?”
If the answer is “No,” then that’s it! All is forgiven.
Forgiveness is not something we have to do, but something we must allow to flow through us. It helps you move forward.
No one benefits from forgiveness more than the one who forgives! So let’s all give ourselves the gift of forgiveness. It is the key to our own happiness and, though forgiving someone else takes moral courage, it usually ends the illusion of separation, and its power can change misery into happiness in an instant.
Forgiveness means choosing to let go, move on, and favour the positive.
Choice is always also present in forgiveness. Refusing to forgive by holding on to the anger, resentment and a sense of betrayal can make your own life miserable. A vindictive mind-set creates bitterness and lets the betrayer claim one more victim. There is nothing so bad that cannot be forgiven. Nothing!
When you forgive, you do it for you, not for the other. The person you have never forgiven owns you! The choice to forgive is only and always yours. When you feel that forgiveness is necessary, do not forgive for “their” sake. Do it for yourself! The hurts won’t heal until you forgive. Recovery from wrongdoing that produces genuine forgiveness takes time. For some, it may take years. Don’t rush it.
Lone Phineas, a student at the University of Namibia, noted that the main reason why it is sometimes difficult to forgive is because, in most cases, those who did you wrong ask for it just as a formality.
“Sometimes when these people ask for forgiveness you can just tell that it isn’t from their hearts but just a formality”, she said.
She added that it is also because every time you meet and see the person, that anger might just boil up hence hindering the forgiveness process.
Thich Nhat Hanh, a Zen Master, however says that, “Non-forgiveness keeps you in the struggle. Being willing to forgive can bring a sense of peace and well-being. It lifts anxiety and delivers you from depression. It can enhance your self-esteem and give you hope.”
Hanh explains that, “Forgiveness allows us to let go of the pain in the memory and if we let go of the pain in the memory we can have the memory but it does not control us. When memory controls us we are then the puppets of the past.”
Another author, Guy Finley, says forgiveness is a creative act that changes us from prisoners of the past to liberated people at peace with our memories.
Says Finley: “It is not forgetfulness, but it involves accepting the promise that the future can be more than dwelling on memories of past injury. It is truly impossible to start anew and to make clear, healthy, life giving choices until we have let go of past hurts, confusion and resentments.
“Old wounds have a drawing power and pull our attention to them over and over, taking energy and hope from us, preventing us from starting again. Old wounds raise fearful specters of the same thing happening again in the future. For this reason it is so important to spend time understanding the true nature of forgiveness, and what it really entails.”
He adds that to forgive means to restore oneself to basic goodness and health.
“When we forgive, we are willing to give up resentment, revenge and obsession. We are willing to restore faith not only in ourselves, but in life itself.”
In the end, though very difficult, let’s take a step forward and forgive because the same energy you use to hold on (to not forgive), is the same energy you need to create a new and exciting relationship.