A sure path to happiness is to forgive and release hurtful feelings. It is not necessary to forgive and FORGET, but in most cases it is necessary to forgive and release the pain so you can regain your power and live with more smiles in your life.
“Not to forgive is to be imprisoned by the past, by old grievances that do not permit life to proceed with new business. Not to forgive is to yield oneself to another’s control…to be locked in a sequence of act and response, of outrage and revenge, tit for tat, escalating always. The present is endlessly overwhelmed and devoured by the past. Forgiveness frees the forgiver; it extracts the forgiver from someone else’s nightmare.”
Forgiving someone is rarely a mandate in the American society, but it is often the best thing you can to do for yourself and others. It is not necessary to let the other know they are forgiven. There are situations when it is simply best to release another from your own internal struggle.
Follow these 7 Steps to Forgiveness and see if they result in more smiles in your life.
Step 1: Commit to a Process of Change
Many people fear change although they want things better. For things to improve, things need to change. When it comes to forgiveness we are seeking positive change. Commit to this process of positive change.
Step 2: Recognize the Value/Importance of Forgiveness
Throughout this series I will be sharing the value and importance of Forgiveness. Please see the post Social Connections: Forgive and Release for the side effects and benefits of forgiveness. In your situation you may be experiencing the side effects of not forgiving, recognize that these can be eliminated if you choose to commit to this process of positive change.
Step 3: Reflect on the facts of the situation, your reaction, the effect on your life, health, and well-being
Often when we find ourselves in a situation that warrants we find ourselves wrapped up or at least tempted by the emotions of the situation. It is beneficial to get real with the situation; be honest about the facts, own your reaction, and knowledge the effect on your life, health and well-being.
Step 4: When ready, actively choose to forgive YOURSELF for the role you played in the situation
It takes two or more to create conflict, but it may only take one to do wrong. If you played a major or minor role in a situation actively choose to forgive yourself. I have found in myself and others when we forgive ourselves for the role we played in a situation it is easier to forgive the other. However, if you were wronged and played no role, do not take on responsibility that is not yours. If you were truly a victim, taking on responsibility will only reinforce the victimhood, which is completely undeserved.
Step 5: When ready, actively choose to forgive the OTHER for whatever wrong was done
I choose to believe that we all function to the highest level we are capable of at the time. Sometimes when poor conditioning, self-protection or self-preservation, and/or misinterpretations prevail the highest level is quite low but the best that could be offered at the time. Forgive the other knowing they were at the best they had to offer and may need established boundaries, professional help, better information, or compassion to function at a higher level in the future. By the way, “actively choose to forgive” does not require going to the other person. There are times when going to the other is not a safe situation for any number of reasons; you can actively forgive without having contact with the individual.
Step 6: Move from the role of victim
Holding onto the pain, bitterness, anger, and other negative emotions is a way to make yourself a victim of a situation and release your power and the control of you to the one who wronged you. The one who wronged you certainly does not deserve that power…not that anyone does.
Step 7: Reclaim the power over your life
Seize your power by embracing the power of peace, hope, gratitude, and joy. Rest in peace knowing you are powerful and in control of your life. Be hopeful for better things now that you have gone through this and learned from it. Be grateful for the learning, growth and strength that resulted from the situation and your ability to forgive. In all things be joyful, you are a person of strength and character.
I found this a little difficult to write and feel a need to add this caveat: Although I believe this 7 step process is highly effective I know there are situations where people are truly victimized and should take no responsibility for the situation. There is evil in the world and for whatever reason it is allowed to harm good people. If you are in this situation and seeking ways to release the hold of that wrong that this process is not addressing, please seek professional help from those who understand your specific situation better than I.
Today’s SIMPLE SMILE IGNITER is to use this process in a situation in your life. Start with a somewhat minor situation and work through the process step by step. Really consider each step before moving to the next. They say the best way to learn something is to teach it to others, who could you teach this to today?