How to Forgive, and Why You Should, for Your Own Well-Being

One of the hardest things we have to do during the course of our lives is to forgive those who wrong us. When we are hurt, our first reaction is almost always to strike back rather than turn the other cheek. Rarely do people understand that revenge is never the answer and is quite harmful to both our spirits and our bodies in the long run. In the throes of anger, it’s a monumental task not to lash back at those who wrong us. Instead of dousing our anger and hatred with the water of forgiveness, we fan the flames with retaliatory remarks and hurtful actions.

Why is it so hard for humans to understand that there is no greater gift we can give ourselves than to find true forgiveness for others? Oh, we understand it intellectually all right, but emotionally, that’s another thing altogether. Yet the lightness of spirit that comes from being able to truly forgive, is a feeling like no other. It almost lifts you up, almost makes your feet feel like they aren’t touching the ground.

Forgiveness lightens your heart and your spirit in a way that no amount of satisfaction from revenge possibly can. With such wondrous rewards, why is forgiveness so difficult? It’s because there is no easy road that leads directly to forgiveness. Obstacles block our path at every turn, and holding tight to our anger can feel so righteous. When we think of the one who wronged us, the pain can seem unbearable. However, it’s so important to realize that the consequences of NOT forgiving far outweigh the pain of facing a hurtful person or situation.

Your anger might well be justified, but the negative energy created from thoughts of revenge is still highly toxic to your body. Rage, hatred, animosity and similar emotions will eat your body alive, cell by cell by cell. You might as well drink poison, because your body doesn’t know the difference.

Most people have multiple issues of forgiveness that need addressing. Some hurts are like little pin pricks, painful at first but eventually you find that forgiveness is possible. Others cut so deep that your heart or psyche feels wounded beyond repair. These are difficult to forgive, but are the ones that need your attention the most, because they are doing you the most harm.

There are no easy answers for HOW to get to the place of true forgiveness in your heart, but one thing that’s worked for me, is to mentally think good thoughts about someone I’m trying to forgive. Mentally send them an abundance of love and best wishes, and visualize a bridge of light going from your heart to theirs. Wherever they are, they will feel your positive thoughts. It takes dedication and hard work, but when you think only loving thoughts about someone over and over, eventually you will begin to feel it in your heart. (This may take a long time, however).

This process may seem ridiculous at first, because you are angry and thinking good thoughts is the last thing you really want to do. But a conscious effort can bring miraculous results-you may be pleasantly surprised to find that one day, your anger has evaporated. At the very least, for those few minutes while you are consciously thinking good thoughts about someone, you are becoming lighter and more free.

The same technique can be very helpful to use in situations where you have hurt or angered someone else. To diffuse the tension between the two of you, the first thing you must do is apologize, and ask them to forgive you. For most folks, this will suffice. But there are always going to be some who insist on clinging to their hurt feelings-like a baby needs a pacifier and a child needs a blankie, these people just can’t seem to let go of their anger.

So for those times when your apology falls on deaf ears, you must work at mentally sending them loving thoughts, and releasing them. There is much wisdom in the old saying, “kill them with kindness.” If my personal experiences are any indication, it really does work. No matter what else you get back from them, no matter how many caustic comments they make to you or about you, you forgive them and send them positive thoughts. That is the only thing you can do.

Although they may not consciously be aware of what you’re doing, they will feel it. And YOU will feel a thousand times better yourself, because true forgiveness is the key to a harmonious, light-filled life.

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