how to forgive

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Forgiveness has nothing to do with the other person deserving or wanting forgiveness. It is not even contingent on whether or not they apologize. Forgiving does not make you a door mat. It doesn’t mean that the other person shouldn’t face the consequences of their actions, that you don’t believe in justice or that you have to keep them in your life.

Forgiveness means that you care and love yourself too much to continue carrying the burden that it is to hold grudges and detrimental emotions. Ruminating over the same situation has never changed its outcome.

 

You can’t forgive others if you have never forgiven yourself.

Acknowledge and accept your part in the situation. Take responsibility for anything you said or did that may have contributed to the incident. You cannot make any changes from a position of shaming or blaming others.

Being under the impression that we are punishing others by clinging onto pain is foolish. The only miserable person is ourselves as we perpetuate a cycle of unnecessary suffering. We cannot change, undo or take back the past. The only person we have any control over is ourselves and the way we choose to react to others.

You do not need to have a conversation with the person in order to forgive them if you don’t feel ready to do so. This is a process that can be done completely on your own.

Meditation and visualization are great ways to help you in the forgiveness process.

Imagine yourself as a prosecutor in court. Allow yourself to fully release what you feel towards the person and what they did to you. Once you have said everything there is to say, allow them to defend themselves. This isn’t excusing their behavior, it is a way for you to see the situation through a different perspective.

Another way is to envision the person on a stage. See them looking joyful as you picture only great things happening to them. Imagine them accomplishing all of their goals and full of life and love.

I learned this next technique from Louise Hay. Visualize the offender as a child. See them feeling scared, ashamed, sad and unloved. This helps you to remember that they are human just like us, and that we are all doing what we think is the best at that moment in time with the knowledge we have and the understanding and awareness we have of that knowledge. Our behavior is learned from our environment and when we hurt others it is because we are hurting inside. All everyone wants is to feel safe and loved. This visualization prompts us to have compassion towards others, despite the way they treat us.

Affirmations are also a great way to help us forgive others. I like to use them in the kindness meditation. Sit in a quiet place, focusing on your breath without judgment. Bring yourself to stillness. When you are ready, begin to recite; “may I be happy, may I be safe, may I be healthy, may I feel love, may I see light, may I be at peace.” Afterwards, say the affirmations for someone in your life whom you love, followed by a person you have neutral feelings about, and finally for the person who has hurt you.

Another option is to write a letter to the person. Let out all of your feelings towards them, making sure not to hold anything back. Once you have finished, you can rip up the letter and burn the pieces, flushing them away in the toilet. You can also take the pieces of paper to a sacred place in nature. Dig a hole in the ground and place them in the ground. Then, place either seeds or a plant on top. Finish by covering the hole with soil. Soon you will literally see your pain absorbed by mother earth and turned into something beautiful; love.

Turn to your spirituality.

In my Buddhist practice, I make sure to chant for the wisdom I need to overcome obstacles, the strength and courage to forgive myself and others, and for the love and happiness of those in my life- especially people who have hurt me. I make sure to pray to turn all poison into medicine in each of my relationships so that I may live harmoniously with myself and others. Turning to spirituality or a religion of your choosing can prove to be beneficial in the forgiveness process. It reminds us to look at the big picture, rather than having small picture thinking. This big picture thinking can help us see the reality of the situation and let us determine whether it is a big deal for us or not. Spirituality can also remind us that we are all one in this universe, and you are just as worthy of love and happiness as the person who has caused us pain. It is as if we are looking in the mirror and saying to ourselves, I am sorry or I forgive you. Sometimes when we chant or pray we ask to be pardoned for things we have done that have hurt others and our faith allows us to believe and feel we’ve been forgiven. Try to have the same faith for them.

Forgiveness can be a difficult, painful and active process. In certain cases, it can take numerous attempts before we are able to fully forgive someone. Regardless of the difficulty, it is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves that directly effects our quality of life. Feel free to seek professional help if you are having difficulty forgiving or if the action has led to any mental health concerns like PTSD or depression.

The aftermath of forgiveness.

You know that you’ve forgiven someone when they no longer trigger overwhelming emotions in you and when you aren’t irritated by everything they do “wrong.”

The next step is to determine if you want them in your life. Once you make the decision to pardon them, you are saying that you’ll leave the past in the past and want a clean slate. There is a difference between forgiving and simply sweeping something under the rug to avoid dealing with it. Ignoring your feelings will always cause them to resurface stronger and can lead to built up resentment that will deteriorate your relationship. Throwing someone’s past faults in their face every chance that you get proves us to be cowardly and a smaller person, as pettiness has never helped anyone to improve in life. Because our intentions are not loving through this behavior, we are creating bad karma for us in the future.

Sometimes after forgiving, we realize that we no longer want this person in our life. Some of us may be in a place in our lives where we choose not to tolerate or have people in our life who don’t want the best for. I know for me personally, there have been people whom have had to face the consequence of no longer being in my life, especially when their offenses are reoccurring. You may find that you only want people who have good intentions and who contribute to your happiness and that you will no longer settle for half friends or frenemies just for the sake of numbing your loneliness. This isn’t an easy decision, but it is an act of love for us in the end.

We all hurt and get hurt in life so it is not in our best interest to turn ourselves into victims because that will only result in attracting similar people and situations. To help transcend your pain into medicine, try to view the situation as a teacher. What can you learn from what happened and how can you better yourself as a result?

Be sure to take the time to fully understand and learn about the forgiveness process. I hope that reading this has helped you to feel a little lighter. Let us walk together and further our progress with a smaller load on our backs.

Please leave any comments or questions below. Let’s keep this conversation going!

 

Love always,

Mabes

 

transcending your anger

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As a regular human being with mood swings and annoyances, I have to deal with what I would call unnecessary emotional flare-ups every now and then. Today it was anger. I worked what felt like a 24-hour day where some beings were behaving ridiculously, then my podcasts refused to play, and my body felt like spaghetti noodles and due to this pasta-like body of mine, I was unable to go to the gym, which was a promise I had made to myself pre-limp fish syndrome. So naturally, I felt lazy and useless, started complaining, spent my walk to my vehicle talking more smack and then got mad at myself for flaking on my gym session, then topped it off by getting mad at someone else for not waiting on me hand and foot like the princess that I thought I was in that moment.

While I believe it is completely normal and ok to be angry if you have a legitimate reason to be and I think it’s important to express and feel your emotions, I don’t like to succumb to a bad mood just because life doesn’t go as expected. As someone who is trying to become the best version of themselves, I don’t want to spend my time choosing to be pissy or grumpy when it is easily fixable.

I realized on my way home I was in a funk and I had two directions I could go in; A) stay mad, curse the world, run over the bicyclist next to my car, and then blame him for sending me to jail or B) get over myself and spend the rest of my evening transcending my unwanted anger into something productive, creative or relaxing. Luckily, I chose the latter.

I began by getting comfy and taking my dog out for a walk. Nature is such an amazing and healing gift that we all have access to and I can definitely vouch for its therapeutic effects. Not only did I get a chance to leave what seemed like smothering surroundings due to feeling overwhelmed, but today was also a full (ish) moon and the temperature was mild, perfect for an evening walk. In other words, it was beautiful out. I was able to figure out my podcast situation and turned on an episode which helped me with my tendency to ruminate in my negative thoughts and stories my squirrel brain creates, while also educating myself on a topic of my interest. By listening to someone else, it allows me to focus my attention on them rather than having my thoughts snowball into a catastrophic avalanche of make believe.

Once I finished my walk I slowly noticed myself going back to feeling yucky so I decided to be productive. I pulled out my laptop and got to work on my website and business. Even though I felt slightly better for walking my dog, I knew that I would definitely feel better after working on something beneficial to my career. Basically, a task with a fruitful outcome.

Music also helps my anger to dissipate, and honestly what I listen to is always different. My playlist of choice will be dependent on the time of the day and whether or not I have obligations to tend to. If I have to go somewhere and be expected to act like a sociable human being or stay awake then I will play something to pump me up. If I am able to go home and plop then I can put on something soothing to help me relax while the anger melts away. Lately, I’ve been listening to this Focus playlist on my Spotify app, especially while I am working or in the mornings when I’m starting my day.

The last remedy I used to release my anger was the art of writing, journaling, blogging, or whatever you want to call it. I’ve written in journals since I was a child and I know that getting my feelings out on paper allows me to be really vulnerable, honest with myself and helps me to see the situation more clearly. Once I’ve written (or typed) it out, I’m able to get out of my head where I would otherwise be replaying the same nightmare over and over again. I also think that by sharing my experiences and vulnerabilities with others, that it allows me to create connections and in turn form a sense of community. I know when I am feeling “some type of way” that I usually will go online and google said mood and find articles or blog posts that will help me to cope or flip the emotion around to something more helpful. At the very least, I am able to find new strategies that I can implement in the future for when I am ready and able to do so. Because let’s be honest, sometimes we just want to feel sorry for ourselves.

So where am I now? Well, my anger is almost entirely gone, and I know most of it was completely made up in my head. But I also remembered some important truths. I realized that I can’t spend my evenings squawking my beak about pointless or negative situations that I have no control of.  While I can’t dictate how others behave, I do have power over how I react and I can choose to restrain from taking part in any undesirable behaviors that hinder my growth. I saw my unpleasant mood as a teacher, and rediscovered ways that can help me become stronger and happier in my day to day life. For me specifically, I was also able to take into account my Buddhist practice. I believe that every action or cause has an effect, so if I spend my time saying or doing something hurtful, then I can surely expect it to come back and bite me in my sore rear.

I hope this post was humoring to you and you leave here feeling better than when you came. As I mentioned before, these ideas to help transcend anger and bad moods are better suited for mild conditions of ungratefulness, as well as feeling spoiled and irritated. I do have some experience on getting over depression and other more severe mental health issues which I can share if you are interested. Please comment below if you have any questions or if you would like to share your ideas on how to get out of a funk.

 

Love always,

Mabes