The secret about giving out free hugs is that you actually receive a whole bunch in return.
In the same way, when you start to forgive people, you cut yourself a whole bunch of slack because you are letting go of a heavy emotional burden.
But in spite of this knowledge, many people who profess the virtues of forgiveness find it difficult to do in practice.
Read on for a few helpful tips on how to make it a little easier to forgive:
1. Forgive yourself when you get stuck.
As mere human beings, we cannot always have the strength to forgive everything all at once. So when you find yourself unable to forgive, acknowledge that you are stuck and know that you can eventually become unstuck. This is just where you are right now and that is okay.
2. Find a smaller piece of the situation that you can forgive.
An unforgivable situation is often complex, but you can usually find some part of it that you’re able to relate to and forgive more easily. Doing so provides two benefits: first, it untangles and simplifies the parts you are still stuck on, and second, it primes your forgiveness muscle, making it easier to potentially forgive the other parts in the future.
3. Set an intention to forgive.
Have a friendly conversation addressing your own unconscious mind. Say something like, “Mind, the next time this happens, I would like for you to be a little more prepared to forgive.” This can help defuse your reactions to a recurring irritation. Remember to thank your subconscious mind after it does what you asked it to do.
4. Practice careful and complete communication.
Do what you have to do in order to get yourself centered and grounded. Postpone taking action until you can come from a place where you hold yourself and the other party in the light of love, respect, and common decency. Use the four steps of compassionate communication to describe what is going on for you, what you need, and what you are requesting. Keep in mind that this process represents extra work on your part, but it will increase your chances of being heard. Keep in mind that the other party may lack the knowledge and skill, so the work might not happen unless you initiate it first.
5. Ask for help.
Two heads are better than one. If you remain stuck, then reach out to a trusted friend or counselor. Even if they can’t help you solve the problem or reach forgiveness, maybe they can still help you explore the problem, discharge your feelings about it, and arrive at a place where you can think more clearly about it. Then, you will be closer to forgiveness or resolution.
I gleaned these tips from various sources and they are just a place to start from. I would like to read about your own experiences and what works or does not work for you. Please do send me your feedback and suggestions.
May you find more peace of mind and carry a lighter load. Live and let live.