how to forgive others and yourself

I bet you have heard it said before that forgiveness is not necessarily for the person who has hurt you but for yourself. It is an act that frees you.

Yet, there are forms of hurt that feel as though they are impossible to let go of. However, it is not healthy to carry that kind of baggage around. The point of forgiving is to stop that hurt from having power over you; to detach yourself from the pain that comes from remembering the hurt.

So, just how do you go about this?

1. Acknowledge and accept that it is in the past
First, you must remind yourself as often as possible that the bad thing someone did to you is in the past. It is not something that is still being done to you and so, holding on to that grudge only means that you are living in the past.

2. Be aware of your thoughts
Practice mindfulness, such that you are always aware of what is occupying your mind and if at all you should permit it. Therefore, make a habit of querying your thoughts. Don’t spend time reviewing what had been done to you because if you do, you end up reliving the pain.

3. Recognize that forgiveness is actually for you
It is not enough to know it in theory that forgiveness is not really for the offender but for you. You must also allow that truth to take root in your heart and guide your actions. What will help this process is if you go over all the negative feelings that are linked to the fact that you haven’t forgiven the person e.g. anger, resentment, frustration, etc? Think of how these emotions are robbing you of quality life.

4. Forgive yourself
Didn’t see this one coming? But then, you may not have been the one who did wrong but you may be beating yourself up for not standing up for yourself, allowing that thing to happen to you, etc. Remind yourself that you can’t blame yourself for other people’s flaws or mistakes because you had no power over their choices.

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