Forgiveness is the most powerful action you can take in your life. If you focused on forgiving yourself and others for a period of 3 months, you would reduce a long list of harmful things in your life, including:
Many religions speak of forgiveness, which is wonderful. While many church and temple leaders provoke the egos of their followers, hoping to insight contrived singularity, hatred, and division, we’re lucky that some spiritual places still teach peace, love, connectedness, and forgiveness.
There are three kinds of forgiveness:
- Rehearsed: Rehearsed forgiveness is something we do when we feel obligated to forgive ourselves or another person. Religions are good at teaching us rehearsed forgiveness.
- Intellectual: We contrive a state of mind that imagines forgiveness. We construct behaviors and ideas related to forgiveness. We can live this way for years and years, without ever getting to the heart of the matter.
- Fully-Embodied: This involves a deep commitment to yourself – and deep emotional and spiritual work. It takes focus, prayer, meditation, positivity, and vulnerability. Without each of these aspects, fully-embodied forgiveness cannot occur.
The deeper we go, the more expanded we become. In my forensic forgiveness process, I instruct people to sit quietly with the thoughts of who we need to forgive. Follow these steps:
1: Imagine this person or group. See them fully in your mind’s eye.
2: If possible, even in the midst of all of your anger or sadness, find some love for them. Even a tiny sprinkle will do.
3: Focus on one person for a while. Imagine how they hurt you. Allow the imagery to come to mind.
4: Grieve each image that you see and feel.
5: Allow other images to emerge, including images that are tangential to your experience with this person.
6: Grieve each one of these images as well. The more imagery you can feel-through, the more expanded you become. You must release these emotions. You must connect with what was so horrible so that you can now decide to let it all go – and never look back.
7: Repeat this out loud, as if speaking to the person who harmed you: I am love. You are love. I am sorry. I believe on some level that you are sorry. I forgive myself. Truly, I forgive myself. I forgive you. Please allow me to forgive you. Self, please allow me to forgive this person. I forgive you. I love you. It is done.
8: Please understand that this person is you. Because he or she is truly you. There is no other in this world. There is no separation between other living Beings. Like vines on a tree, we are a collective consciousness. Forgive yourself, forgive others, and you’ll forgive all of the future experiences that have the same attributes as the situation you’ve been focusing on here.
9: Admit that somehow you invited this person into your life. Somehow you attracted this aspect of the Universe. Take responsibility for it. Don’t play the victim – that’s a game that nobody wins. Forget the lawsuit, forget the revenge. Just accept the lesson, make a list of what you learned, make a list of what you still need to learn, promise you won’t do this again. Then move on with your life.
Two of the bigger pieces of forgiveness include: setting boundaries and letting go. When we forgive someone, it doesn’t mean that we have to forget everything about them. We might even choose to limit our exposure to them. In some cases, even with family, we might choose to completely release them from our lives. Letting go requires that we release our attachments to what happened. If we set our boundaries and limits correctly, we can protect and preserve this “letting go.” If we’re not careful, we can unwind the deep work that we’ve done. Always protect yourself after forgiving someone.
Remember, too, that your primary relationship is with the Universe, not others. When you decide to let go of someone, the Universe will support you. Forgive yourself, forgive others, set boundaries, release all of it.