Forgiveness, gratitude and love are simple words with complex meanings that create a challenge for most people. Sometimes the mere mention of the word forgiveness can evoke anger, resentment and resistance. If that’s the case for you, find a more comfortable word or phrase like “letting go.” Complex concepts are easier to understand when broken down into simple, easy-to-use ideas. Let’s take forgiveness and separate it into two categories: self-forgiveness and forgiveness of others. Starting with self-forgiveness, we need to assess if it is even necessary. Ask yourself: Have you ever “beat yourself up” or obsessed over a decision that had less than the perfect outcome? Do you criticize your actions or call yourself bad, mean or disrespectful names when you make even a small, easy-to-fix mistake? Have you ever done something that you regretted and continue to punish yourself for it years later? If you answered yes to any of these questions then keep reading, you need to work on self-forgiveness. The keyword here is “work.” Forgiveness is a process that takes conscious effort to achieve. If you follow my writings, you’ll notice that I say that a lot. It’s true about life and healing on all levels. You must give yourself permission to take as long as you need to reverse a habit. In this case, we are reversing the habit of self-abusive behavior and thinking. It didn’t happen overnight so it won’t be healed overnight. If you remain dedicated to interpersonal healing, you will find that your challenges have layers. I have discovered that forgiveness, gratitude and love break through those layers a lot faster than any other thought process and it is easier to forgive and love others, when we forgive and love ourselves. So now that you know why you need to forgive yourself, we must discover when forgiveness is necessary and use an easy to remember formula that I call Recognize, Release and Replace. The first step is RECOGNIZE when and that you need to forgive yourself. Going forward, pay attention to your thoughts and reactions to the circumstances around you. If your response is anything less than kind, supportive and loving, you will need to forgive yourself. The more loving we are with ourselves, the easier and quicker it becomes to forgive. The next step is to RELEASE those thoughts and that energy and then to REPLACE them with a healthy and helpful affirmation.
The RELEASE – This technique is best done in a relaxing pose and with no outside distractions. Once you have mastered it, the technique can be done in a matter of seconds and even while you are with others. It will just look like you are taking a deep breath or a moment to gather your thoughts.
Put your attention on your heart and imagine a door leading to a cozy room. You open the door, enter the room, then comfortably position yourself on the floor in front of the deity of your choice, your higher self or even a healing fountain. Ask to know what forgiveness feels like. Once you notice the shift in sensation, visualize that the harmful thought that you entered with is just melting off of you and is instantly healed. Realize that you did the best you could at that time. You made a decision or performed an action and now it is done. It cannot be undone, so stressing about it is pointless. As this situation is washed away, you are showered with forgiveness, gratitude and love. Be thankful for the experience and the personal growth. Send yourself love. Feel your deity, higher self or healing fountain send you love. Now REPLACE those harmful thoughts with its opposite loving thought, using one or more healthy I AM statements and affirmations. Stay in the your healing heart space as long as you want or need to. When you are ready, give thanks and leave knowing that you can return as often as you like.
During your daily adventures, use your new affirmations whenever possible, but especially when you RECOGNIZE yourself going back to old habits. Remember healing is a process so you may need to re-enter the heart space with the same issue several times before it is healed. That’s OK! Give yourself time to heal and permission to do it at your own pace.
Forgiveness part two, forgiveness of others. As you may have heard before, forgiveness is about you NOT the person that you are forgiving. Forgiving them does not excuse what happened. Forgiveness is about letting go of the harmful feelings (anger, bitterness, resentment, mistrust, hatred, judgment, etc…) and allowing yourself to heal. Carrying around all that pain is only hurting YOU! Use the same heart space meditation until the feelings are gone. Forgiveness allows us to feel joy, love and happiness more fully and consciously. It allows us the opportunity to enjoy, appreciate and discover all the wonders of this life that we couldn’t see because of the hurt. You deserve happiness, heal the pain!
So the title of this article is Forgiveness, Gratitude, Love. Let’s talk briefly about gratitude. It is so easy to be thankful for a fun, exciting and/or safe experience. However, when we are going through a crisis, it can be difficult to be grateful for the experience. Remember that everything happens for reason and everything is a growth opportunity, so practice gratitude for all situations and life events and watch how your world changes for the better. The more you express gratitude, the more things you will have to be grateful for, it’s the law of the Universe. Love…love is the glue. Love is the foundation. Love is the beginning, middle and end of all things. The less you hate, the more you love. The more you love, the less you hate. The practices of Forgiveness, Gratitude and Love are inseparable, they are one. Forgiveness and gratitude are both expressions of LOVE. So love yourself, love one another, love life!