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Discussing the difficult topic of forgiveness is never easy.
Some keep the unforgiveness of a person or a past situation pent up for many years. Others remain unforgiven for something they said or did either consciously or unconsciously. Still many more of us remain unable to forgive ourselves.
Whilst the circumstances may differ, the overall negative impact on each of us is the same: a detrimental effect on our mental and physical health and well-being.
Ultimately, this has nothing to do with the other person, and everything to do with us.
Whilst holding onto these negative emotions, the only person harmed is ourselves. Stubbornly holding onto negative experiences and the resentment that unfolds from them does not serve us. In fact, it can even shorten our life spans.
Ultimately, forgiving ourselves or others means releasing resentment or anger. In holding on to the ways we feel we have been wronged, an internal energetic block has been created where we can go neither forward nor backward concerning an individual or situation. All that pent-up energy can cause all sorts of stress and anxiety, which can lead to multiple other health problems.
Oppositely, in studies, forgiveness has been shown to improve anxiety, sleep, depression, and stress. It also enhances our mood, vitality, and levels of positivity.
How do we forgive someone who has wronged us?
Forgiving someone is, of course, easier said than done. You wouldn’t be here if that wasn’t the case, now would you?
It can be challenging when someone has hurt us and there is no apology or sign of humility.
Though we may ask ourselves how we might possibly be able to forgive the wrongdoing we feel has been committed against us, there are no situations that can not be forgiven, whether we’ve been wounded by a family member, a friend, or a colleague. Relationships, employers, and even ourselves can be forgiven.
Here are four steps to release our negative emotions and move closer to forgiving others:
1. Acknowledge that being unforgiving harms only you.
If we think holding back our forgiveness is somehow harmful to the person who we feel has wronged us, we’re fooling ourselves. If we acknowledge that we’re only hurting ourselves and can reconcile our internal imbalance, we will improve our well-being including sleep and stress levels.
2. Make a decision to forgive.
The negative energy and emotions we feel are a clear sign that we are not coping well and that a release is needed. We must make the conscious decision to forgive and be willing to do the work to follow through.
3. Allow yourself to feel compassion.
When forgiving someone, compassion (for both ourselves and the person we aim to forgive) is the key. Be sure to remember, though, that forgiveness is for you first, and others second.
4. Release the emotion.
Acknowledge that the experience has changed you, and then acknowledge that it is time to move on and continue your growth. With that, allow for the complete expression within you and perhaps even externally to the other person, if desired.
Here are three steps to release our negative emotions and move closer to forgiving ourselves:
1. Take responsibility for your actions.
This the first and perhaps the hardest step. Recognize the issue and its issue, and then examine your role in it.
2. Forgive yourself.
Say it, write it, chant it, and feel it. We are all human, and occasionally we do something that is perceived as wrong or inappropriate. Release your own self-judgment and the background voices in your mind that reinforce them.
3. Speak to others concerned.
If you feel it is necessary to complete your process of self-forgiveness, apologize for what took place. Be sure to note, though, that you are not seeking their forgiveness, but rather pursuing your growth and ability to move past the issue.
At the end of the day, you are the person responsible for your happiness.
Living a life that is full and healthy, guilt and stress-free is your responsibility. Your health and well-being is your priority.
Do not let being unforgiving and harboring negative emotions prevent you from being the best person you can be.