Forgiving others may seem like an odd task. Many of us has heard or seen the old quote from Buddha “holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”. And as hard as it is for us to let go, we must in order to start down our own road of healing.
I speak to a lot of people throughout my day who struggle with the same things; so much anger, so much pain, so much shame held inside from a variety of people, occasions and things that we have yet to let go of. Unbeknownst to us, holding on to this pain is much like holding on to fire. We are the ones that feel burned, even if the flames were created by someone else.
One simple thing we are able to do that does help us to do are forgiveness exercises. The one I am addressing in this article is the art of forgiving others who have wronged us. Yes indeed there are those that have tried to make us suffer, and in some cases we have certainly allowed them to. I know myself to only recently be learning how to establish boundaries to not feel as though I am STILL being ran over by a cement truck. We will swing back to boundaries in another article. For now lets focus on how to learn the art of forgiving others.
Start by taking a forgiveness inventory by writing a list of names of all the people you feel have caused you pain, harm, malice. Living or dead. Don’t feel bad if the list is long. Go into as much detail as you are comfortable with in outlining what and how you feel they have done this. Once the list is complete, start at the top and work your way down.
In a solitary, quiet space without interruption or noise, go through each person, one at a time-visualizing them in your mind while letting them know how you feel they have wronged you, explain the hurt and the ways it affected you. Explain to them that you are forgiving them and releasing them, and you will no longer be holding on to the pain and resentment you hold towards them. “I forgive you and release you. I hold no unforgiveness back. My forgiveness for you is total. I am free, you are free”. Take time while visualizing each person and visualize them letting go of you and the pain they caused you at the same time.
Take this list once you have worked down all the names and forgiven them all and find some way to complete the task by either ripping up the list, burning it, recycling it, or simply adding notes that they have each been forgiven and released beside their names. Repeat as often as is necessary, adding to the list or creating new lists as you go.
One important aspect of this exercise is to understand that it is not necessary to “get back” at someone, or to “make them suffer the way I have suffered” because of the hurt or pain you have endured. There is absolutely no excuse for someones poor behavior against us. Understanding that their motivations come from somewhere completely different from ours. Leading and learning with compassion will all help us to heal, even just a little bit every day.
Kimberley Dickinson is a Nurse, Author of the bestselling novel The One Life Movement, Private Yoga Instructor, Life Coach, Grief, Loss and Mental Health supporter and End of Life Transition / Death Doula. For more information on her lifespan inclusive services and skills please connect with her on www.athomewellness.ca for in person, over the phone or online support and coaching sessions.
For inspiration, travel adventures and lifestyle content visit www.theonelifemovement.com
Email; firstname.lastname@example.org or LinkedIn