But STOP… If you missed the first part of this article, please BEGIN HERE then return when you are done to make the most out of your experience. Thank you!
Now where were we…
The Process of Forgiveness: Parts 4 - 7
4) THE WORK OF FORGIVENESS:
Once you see the value of the work from the first 3 parts of my previous article, there are good places to start to let go of some of these destructive emotions. Remember that this forgiveness work can’t be rushed, and you need to go through it at your own pace. It’s not going to work to merely pay lip service to the whole thing, “Ok, I forgive so-and-so,” just won’t cut it!
True forgiveness and release can be a slow process, but it can be a transcendent experience that raises your vibration, heals you and even makes you more aware of psychic and spiritual messages coming to you from the universe.
It opens up the good in the world to you. It’s like being in darkness and throwing open the windows, letting fresh air and sunshine in. To me, it creates good luck, good will and happiness at a deep level. Forgiving is well worth doing.
5) JOURNALING AND SHARING:
I feel that journaling, or writing it all down, is a good beginning. Tell the story of the situation in detail, don’t leave anything out, no one has to see this but you. Tell how the person’s behavior affected you and your life. It might take you days to get this all on paper, because it might be painful, but it’s the beginning of the work that will free you.
If you have a trusted friend, you might want to read this aloud to them and discuss it. TRUSTED is the operative word here. You are not looking for critique here, but rather someone to bear witness, to acknowledge what happened to you. Not to say, “Oh you shouldn’t have done that or That’s not what I would have done, etc. “
It’s imperative that you pick the right person for this job of sharing your story, or, if you don’t have that person, to find a short-term professional therapist to share this with and help you move thru it all.
And I personally feel that, if this anger involves family-of-origin work from the past, involving a sibling, a parent, etc. that a therapist is probably the best place to start rather than the friend.
I can tell you, from personal experience, that journaling and sharing about this type of event is amazing in its effectiveness, and its healing, restorative power.
Remember that forgiveness is a process and over time you might want to do this journaling/sharing work more than once. The more you share, the more the pain diminishes and the more the event seems to recede into the past and loosens its grip on you.
You can also use this technique in the same way, as a second exercise, to write a letter to the person themselves, and again, share it with your friend or therapist.
6) EMPATHY AND A DIFFERENT POINT OF VIEW:
After writing and sharing, you might want to look at the issue in an empathetic way for a moment, to see it from the point of view of the other person. Some situational examples of questions to ask include:
• Who is this person, really? What type of life experiences did this person have that might have made them act this way?
Now, in some of these instances, the answers might not be available. But it is useful to learn to see the other person’s vantage point.
This is not to exonerate them from their transgressions, but it’s a good practice to help understand people, motivations and ourselves.
It takes us out of the victim role when we understand that there may have been other elements at play here that had nothing to do with us. This doesn’t change the reality of the feelings and events, but it gives us a broader scope when dealing with the offender and with people in general.
7) OURSELVES AS HEROES:
After the other work is processed through, we need to take another look at the issue and see that the way we chose to handle this, seeking help, doing the work, putting ourselves back together, really makes us true survivors of this occurrence.
We may not have emerged unscathed, we sure wish it hadn’t happened, but we have used our forgiveness of this person as a vehicle for our own personal power and growth. And we did it in such a way that we didn’t add insult to injury by continuing to be held hostage by this event, this person and their toxic behavior.
I believe that is how we deal with and transcend other people’s darkness, not thru victimhood, but thru understanding and forgiveness.
I leave you with a famous quote from the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. He said, “That which does not kill you, makes you stronger.”
References available in print or digitally:
- Behind the Therapy Door: Simple Strategies To Transform Your Life by Dr. Randy Kamen, Ph.D.
- Forgiveness is Power by William Fergus Martin, from the Global Forgiveness Initiative
- Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life by Judith Orloff, M.D.