3 Keys to Forgiveness

Forgiveness has been on my mind lately and man is it a tricky subject. Of course forgiving others or a situation or ourselves is the “spiritually evolved” thing to do, but it’s f*cking hard. And it’s easy to think that forgiving something means that the same thing will happen to us again, or that if we forgive someone, they have to be part of our lives. Ug.

Forgiveness is complicated, and I’m still figuring out what it means to me. But there are a few people and situations in my life that have been replaying in my head over and over–so much so that they’re decreasing the quality of my life. Replaying those old scenarios drains my energy, affects my other relationships, and pushes away other good things that are trying to come to me. So I’m thinking it’s time work my forgiveness muscle.

Take a second right now and think about one person (maybe it’s yourself?) or situation that is circulating in your head all the time and not making you feel any better at all.

I just started my journey with forgiveness, but in part thanks to the amazing Gabrielle Bernstein, I’ve learned 3 things that will help us ease into forgiveness and experience peace and freedom. Check it:

1. Willingness. The very first step to forgiving someone or something is to be willing to forgive. You have to want the peace, freedom, and happiness that result from forgiveness more than hanging on to your hurt, anger, or resentment. Even if you’re just slightly open to forgiveness, that’s enough to get the process going. When you catch yourself replaying that old scenario or conversation that you’re resenting, just say to yourself (I do this out loud), “I’m open to forgiving,” “I’m willing to forgive this situation/person/myself,” or “I don’t need to hang onto this. I’m open to releasing this.”

2. Face your feelings. It’s crucial to be willing to forgive, but you can’t just slap a prayer or mantra over your feelings and expect to experience true and lasting peace. You have to face the pain, hurt, anger, etc. that you experienced because of the situation you’re resenting. Most of the time, when we think about a situation or person who triggers us, we push it down or distract ourselves so we don’t have to feel it. But that just keeps those feelings alive and silently torturing us. In the forgiveness process, we have to acknowledge how a certain situation made us feel instead of running away. Then the feelings will move through us and leave us for good, never haunting us again. So whenever you experience an emotion because of that person/situation, just take a deep breath, notice where you feel it in your body, and breathe through it or journal, stretch, cry, etc. Feel your feelings with the intention that you’re moving towards forgiveness, and thus peace, freedom, and happiness.

3. Give it up. The best and most relieving part of this whole process is that we don’t have to take some major action. We simply have to surrender that situation or person and our feelings about them to God or The Universe. We don’t have to worry about what the forgiveness will look like, how our lives may or may not change, or whether we’ll actually be able to forgive. We just have to take it one day at a time, be willing to forgive, and feel our feelings along the way. God/The Universe will handle it from there.

Forgiveness is a process, and I’m still figuring it out. But if we want to experience more peace and ease in our lives, and attract wonderful, high-vibe things, then we have to consider forgiving the people and situations that are haunting us and keeping us stuck in fear, resentment, hurt, and anger.