So many great comments and questions came up yesterday after the post on forgiveness, that I felt maybe we should continue this “conversation” and talk about the “hows”…How exactly do you forgive someone who has hurt you or others, and how do you know when you have forgiven?
I know when I have truly forgiven someone, because my perspective changes. I can see the situation from a different angle. This does not mean that what was done was right or good or that I now see it that way. Usually I don’t. It only means that the lens that I am observing the situation through has widened and I feel different; eventually being free of all negative emotion associated with that event/situation. The old well-worn groove of, “This was done to me and now I feel the same (awful) way when I think about it” has changed… and it is always a relief. I also am very aware that since it was a well-worn groove, if I start talking about the situation, or re-living it, I can go right back to it mentally. I have done this often enough in the past to know what a trap it is. I then feel confused and think, “I thought that I had forgiven him/her?”.
How do I forgive?
What I have come to see is that I must first set my intention to forgive. This does not even mean that I want to at that moment. When it is hard for me (which it always is!) I ask for help from Spirit. I admit that I don’t want to do it, or let the situation go, and then I ask. And unless I must discuss the situation with someone, I do my best to not re-tell or re-think it. When I find myself back into the middle of it mentally (and catch myself) I say something like, “I release them and let them go.” Sometimes I even put my hand up like I am stopping a thought from physically entering my mind.
These things being said, there is another element, and by far the largest and most amazing one, that comes into play when we set the intention to forgive, and that is, what has been called by some traditions, the Grace of God. When we do our part; set the intention and do our best to forgive, the positive power of the Universe/God/Life/Source always supports and moves us. The thrust of our entire universe is for more life, more growth, more of all good things, and forgiveness is on the path of growth and expansion.
If you have a story of how you have forgiven, or how you knew when you had, please feel free to post your comments (as long or as short as you want!).