Forgiveness. Oh boy. What a word. Forgiveness is a eternally important part of all our lives. We will all experience things at some point or another that we have to forgive. That we have to lean into that practice of forgiveness and that inner strength to get over those wrongdoings for. Whether that’s someone you love doing something to hurt you or whether it’s YOU having done something to hurt someone else; it all ties in to that important word.
Forgiveness has cropped up quite a lot in my life lately. As I’ve grown so much as a person over these last few years, having gotten over my anxiety disorder, experienced life coaching and more, the concept of forgiveness keeps rearing it’s head.
I’m finding that I’m dwelling on things that happened during my anxiety disorder. Things that I did wrong to others when I wasn’t in the right frame of mind and also things that people did to me during that time, as well.
Because there’s nothing like a mental illness to show you who your true friends are, right?
Time and time again, I’ll find my mind just wandering to these times, places, people and moments that make me want to curl up in a ball and hide from. I know that a lot of forgiveness is needed here. I need to forgive myself and I need to forgive others.
So today I wanted to talk about forgiveness. Why it’s an important thing to prioritize plus some handy suggestions of HOW you can show – or begin to show – forgiveness to yourself and others if it’s something you’re struggling with.
Why do you need to prioritize forgiveness in your life?
A lack of forgiveness can have such a profoundly negative impact on your life and your mental well-being if you let it. Of course, this is EXTREMELY subjective and dependent on what you need to forgive.
For the sake of this post, I’m of course not talking about anything extreme or life-changing.
So why exactly do you need to prioritize forgiveness in your life? In my current journey of forgiving myself and others, these are some things that I’ve identifies:
- It can help you stop dwelling on the past: Forgiving yourself and others can help you stop living in the past. This is a big one for me, as I tend to go over things again and again in my head. Once you have that forgiveness practice in place, it can help!
- It can allow you to move on from difficult situations: Probably the most obvious reason why forgiveness is so important and that’s how it allows you to move on from a difficult situation.
- It can increase your ability to empathize: Nobody wants to hold grudges their entire life. It can become completely draining. So learning how to forgive can increase your ability to empathize.
- You simply can’t not forgive yourself forever: This specifically applies to things that you need to forgive yourself for. Which is something I struggle with but you absolutely DON’T deserve to be mad at yourself forever.
- It allows you to live in a more peaceful state of mind: Not forgiving something hurts you more than it hurts the other party. You’re the one stuck in that stagnant state of mind that’s bringing you down.
- Your focus and energy can then be on what’s important: And finally, it frees up space in your body, mind and spirit to focus on what’s important (and even make things right!)
How can you show forgiveness to yourself and others?
Forgiveness doesn’t have to be a great big grand gesture. Of course it can be if you want it to be but let’s be honest, life isn’t like the movies and it’s unlikely we’re going to show up on anyone’s doorstep with a marching band and a made up song about forgiveness.
As forgiveness is such a big and broad topic which can relate to anything from bumping into someone with your shopping cart to murdering someone’s family member, it’s hard to talk about how to show forgiveness as a whole because one thing might not be appropriate for one such action.
For example, a text saying, “soz x” isn’t going to make up for murdering my Nan.
But these suggestions are very general and can be adapted to each of us and used accordingly:
Start from a place of kindness
Forgiveness always needs to come from a place of kindness. If it doesn’t, it won’t last or be as effective. So think about the sort of headspace you’re in. Maybe now ISN’T the time.
Understand and acknowledge that your feelings are valid
Whatever you’re forgiving, know and understand fully that first and foremost, your feelings are valid. By committing to forgiveness, that doesn’t mean you’re not acknowledging that.
Confrontation doesn’t have to be the answer
Forgiveness can come from within and stay there. You don’t have to confront people in order to forgive them. Forgiveness can be done safely on your own. It’s for your own peace of mind, after all.
Write it all down
Journaling is so helpful and so beneficial and can be a great tool when trying to forgive. Sometimes forgiveness can cloud our minds; we’re constantly thinking about what happened and why. So getting it down on paper and even writing it out as a story can be really helpful.
Lean in to your belief system
Belief systems are vital for forgiveness. So whether you’re a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or believe in the power of our beautiful Universe, lean into it. Understand what your religion thinks about forgiveness. Use your connection with the Universe to help you move through it.
Establish a full forgiveness ritual
In my freebie library (which you can gain access to by signing up to my mailing list here) I have a full guide on my end of the month ritual, which has been a GAME CHANGER in my life over the last year. Rituals are a fantastic way to go inwards, understand what’s going on inside your head and ultimately, let it go.
So a forgiveness ritual could be something that’s extremely beneficial if you’re struggling to find a way to forgive. Here is a very basic forgiveness ritual you can try:
- Step 1: Find a quiet and safe space. Incorporate candles, blankets, crystals or anything else that’s a comfort to you.
- Step 2: Choose 1 or 2 things you want to focus on forgiving. Don’t overwhelm yourself.
- Step 3: Write it all down. Journal what happened, what state of mind you were in, the circumstances at the time, how you reacted, how the other person reacted and anything else of note. Do this without judgment or fear.
- Step 4: Take a moment to sit with these things. Cry if you want. Scream if you have to.
- Step 5: Carefully burn the piece of paper that you wrote on and release it into the Universe.
- Step 6: Repeat the affirmation, “I choose to forgive” or spend some time doing a short meditation.
Remember that forgiveness is in your hands and it’s important that you do what feels right WHEN it feels right. It might not be the right time to embark on a practice of forgiveness and that’s okay!
What do you do when you need to forgive? Do you have any helpful rituals or practices?
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