Q: Can you help me understand how to forgive? I’ve been struggling for years with this. I want so much to forgive someone but feelings of anger and hurt only surface instead and block any feelings of forgiveness.
A: Dear One, we embrace this struggle with compassion and honor you for your desire to find harmony with your situation. First of all let us explain what forgiveness is.
Forgiveness is letting go. Letting go of hurt, feelings of revenge, feelings of requiring “justice,” feelings of being owed, feelings of anger — all these negative feelings that serve to poison your heart.
While it is quite natural to respond with powerful emotions when a wrong has been done against you, there comes a time when the balance is tipped and it is time to release and move on.
Forgiveness is not an act of condoning harmful action. Rather it is intention to forgive that allows for hearts to heal.
Forgiveness is not an easing of resistance against a reprehensible behavior. It is an unburdening of pain.
Carrying thoughts and feelings of anger and/or resentment against a wrongdoer does not honor the victim in any way. For this is not the memory with which to carry a beloved forth.
It does however, slowly poison the one who holds within him these negative emotions. This is a heavy burden to bear, a punishment against the bearer. It is a poison that works deep into the psyche and affects the very outlook of the person. This can be passed down through the generations — you can each one think of many examples of this, also of cultures that hold revenge dear. And there are many.
There comes a fulcrum moment in the healing process when the victim can begin the process of letting go, or put energy into holding on and nursing the anger. Forgiveness is a process, Dear One, not truly an instant choice. For if you were not holding on to your negative emotions, you would find that forgiveness had been achieved quite naturally, without conscious effort.
Forgiveness is a natural conclusion. It requires no religion, no philosophy, no effort or plan. It is the result of not nursing a wound. A wound to the heart will heal on its own just as surely as a wound to the body, given time. It is a natural process.
Forgiveness is what occurs when one is not holding on to the poison.
So, Dear One, here is how you find your way to forgiveness:
No longer think of the person who hurt you, put away the thoughts and feelings that cause you so much pain. Treat yourself tenderly. Protect yourself from being forced to relive or remember the difficult situation or person. Fill your heart with positive gifts from different directions.
This is not denial, this is creating a way for your heart to heal. There is a very large difference. You cannot work through to a place of forgiveness while dwelling on the situation you wish to forgive, any more than you can heal a broken bone while hitting it continually with a hammer.
Practice not thinking of this pain, Dear One. Practice instead living your life in a joyful way until one day, you will find that the pain is no longer there. This will be the day you have achieved forgiveness.
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