Steps to Forgiveness

By Val Boyko • June 24th, 2011

forgivenessThe day a child realizes that all adults are imperfect, he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult; the day he forgives himself, he becomes wise.” – Alden Nowlan

When it comes to daughter mother relationships, acceptance and forgiveness can be hard. I’ve blogged about accepting our mothers for who there are – and accepting our imperfect selves.

A missing piece has been talking about forgiveness.

There has been so much written about forgiveness – forgiving others for an offense or hurt in the past, and forgiving ourselves for something we feel ashamed of. Whether its about external or internal forgiveness, it all seems to come down to one thing. Our ability to let go!

I’ve discovered in my conversations and experience with others that the more we tend to control and want things our way, the harder it is to forgive. Forgiveness and being able to let go, seem to go hand in hand.

I wonder how this resonates with you. Do you find it easy to forgive and are a more easy going person? Or do you find it difficult to forgive and are more of  a “rulebook” person who likes things to be a certain way?

Let me know if my theory stands up in real life!

Here are the 3 steps that have worked for me. (For other approaches, see the link at the end of this post)

1. Acknowledge what happened and the hurt. Your distress is coming from within you now, not from what offended or hurt you in the past.

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”  – The Buddha

2. Make the decision – to hold on to the grudge or let it go. We are under no obligation or pressure to forgive. However, holding a grudge becomes a debilitating drain on our health and can poison our outlook on life. John Welwood talks about the need for us to grieve for our grievances in order for us to heal.

When we forgive we are doing it for our sake, not the other person’s.  It is the most important step in healing ourselves from the hurt of the past. Its a gift to ourselves so we can be healthier and happier in life!

3. Shift your focus.

– Instead of going over in your mind why something happened, or how horrible the actions were,  focus on what you want the pain to turn into.

– Visualize what your life will be like after the pain is gone.

– Start seeking ways to get what you want.

– Look for love, beauty and kindness around you. Its there!

By letting go of the rage and resentment within you and replacing it with compassion for yourself, you become free. Free to be you – and no longer a victim defined by an others actions.



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