Have you ever heard that forgiveness is a gift we give to ourselves? There's a quote by Rumi that says, "Your task is not to seek for love but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it."
Forgiveness is a choice we make because we want to move on and let go of what is hurting us. It is by no means an easy process, but a necessary one if we want to open our heart and heal.
Forgiveness is a main theme of the Heart Chakra, along with love and compassion. When we hold a grudge, it hurts us more than anyone else and as a result, we block our ability to fully and completely give and receive love.
Here are some things we can do to release past pain and start the journey of forgiveness:
Accept that forgiveness is our issue to deal with, not the other person's. Forgiving someone doesn't mean ignoring that you were hurt or wronged. Don't buy into the myth that if you forgive, you're letting someone off the hook or saying what they did was no big deal.
Forgive yourself first. When we're open to accepting our own mistakes, it becomes easier to forgive others. Forgive yourself for being hard on yourself and for your self-criticism. Working towards cultivating self-love is an essential part of healing.
Keep a forgiveness journal. This may prove to be a long process, but don't force it: we won't be able to forgive until we are truly ready. It will take however long it takes. When journaling, focus on how holding on the narrative of what happened has affected you and held you back or kept you feeling stuck.
Be mindful of your self-talk. When you repeatedly say "if only" or "what if," remind yourself that you did the best you could at the time. Remember, hindsight is always 20/20. We can learn from our mistakes, but it's important to not beat ourselves up in the process. As Maya Angelou said, "When we know better, we do better."
Try this forgiveness meditation. Start by sitting in a comfortable position and take a few deep breaths.
Focus on moving towards forgiveness by simply bringing it to mind. Don't try to force anything. Follow your heart and be mindful of what physical sensations come up in body. Do you feel any barriers to forgiving? If so, what are they?
You're just creating some space for yourself to have an experience without striving for a specific outcome.
Now, begin by asking forgiveness from those you have hurt. You can say, "There are ways I've hurt others, knowingly or unknowingly, through my own emotional pain." Pause and let yourself feel whatever comes up for you in your body and with your thoughts. Go slowly; there's no need to rush through this exercise.
Then say, "I ask your forgiveness, please forgive me."
Next, you can acknowledge those who have harmed you. Say, "There have been ways I've been hurt by others, knowingly or unknowingly, through their emotional pain."
Pause and remember how you've been hurt by tuning into your internal response.
Then say, "I forgive you and release the pain of this past hurt." Pause and breathe. Notice any shift or release you feel.
The last part is about forgiving yourself: "There are ways I've harmed myself, knowingly or unknowingly, due to my emotional pain."
Pause and let yourself feel what you feel. Then say, "I forgive myself and release the emotional pain of not forgiving myself in the past."
To end the mediation, sit quietly for a few minutes, or longer if you'd like, to let yourself notice what you notice.
"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it." ~Rumi
Want the 9 Attitudes of Mindulness Guide?
A great reminder to support you in practicing non-judgement, acceptance & gratitude!