Ever wonder why forgiving is such a tough thing to do, especially when we most likely know that forgiveness puts us on the road to more love and freedom? Primarily, it’s because many of us equate forgiveness with allowing or letting someone off the hook for wrongdoing. We think that by forgiving someone, we’re saying that what they did was okay.
Forgiveness can look like we’re condoning the perpetrator’s behavior along with the hurt and pain they’ve caused us. It’s easy to get fooled with the thought, “Hey if I forgive him/her for hurting me I’ll just be setting myself up for more of the same.”
Leading prosperity expert, Catherine Ponder, has a great quote that dispels that belief, “When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.”
So, in actuality, when we are able to forgive, we release ourselves from the bondage of the anger, hurt, resentment and possibly deep-seated pain we carry inside. Those feelings can keep us stuck and unable to move forward in our lives. For instance, if a past relationship caused you tremendous pain, you may be unconsciously sabotaging potential new relationships because you’re emotionally unavailable as you try to protect yourself. By not being able to release and let go of what happened in the past, you keep yourself closed off from the love, joy and happiness you most desire.
How can you move on without believing you’re condoning what’s happened in the past? Well, first, when you forgive someone, it doesn’t mean you have to continue to have a relationship with them. In fact, you never have to speak to them again—ever! It also doesn’t mean that when you say the words, “I forgive,” all is erased as if it never happened.
What is important to do, however, is to see the hurt you’ve experienced in a new light. It means connecting to and expanding that part of you that has never been hurt or harmed and can never be anything less than all-that-is. It means taking your past hurt to a new place…maybe even seeing the light AND the flaws in those that have “done you wrong,” with a measure of compassion for them.
This is not easy nor is it quick. And it does not mean you ever allow this to happen to you again. To be able to truly move on, it can be extremely helpful to follow a process that allows you to arrive at a place of forgiveness. Here are seven steps you might follow to get there:
1. Look at the hurt you have not been able to forgive up to now.
2. Identify and allow yourself to feel your feelings about that hurt. Is there anger or resentment there? Is there fear, shame, guilt, embarrassment, or some other feeling connected to your hurt?
3. Imagine how your life could be if you released this hurt and all the feelings related to it. Visualize the joy, excitement and happiness you will experience.
4. Now here’s the biggest step! Declare that you are ready to let the hurt go. Yes, make a declaration. “I, _____, am ready to release this hurt and the feelings I have experienced along with it!”