Truly forgive and lighten the load of your life.
I believe the act of true forgiveness is one of the strongest forces we can experience, whether you’re the forgiver or the one being forgiven. What’s more, true forgiveness means that you don’t carry the weight of the event on your shoulders for the rest of your life.
And while its very nature is gentle, the act of forgiving can strengthen your inner core like nothing else. Yes, forgiveness does include the softening of once hard feelings, but the process of relaxing that rigidity is by no means synonymous with weakness.
How it makes you stronger.
Holding onto negativity, even if you were indeed slighted and hurt, does not strengthen you spiritually or physically. It’s actually quite the contrary.
Carrying around the bitterness associated with an offence is like a keeping a wound, on the verge of healing, open and susceptible to inflammation and pain. You may forget it’s there or try to cover it up, but if someone bumps into it – oh boy! There you go! You’re right back where you were, as if the event was happening all over again.
And over time, that negative energy in your body, which never heals, can transform into physical ailment very easily.
So unless you want to tip-toe through life with emotional land mines all around you, then intentionally working through whatever the issue was and letting go of the negative emotions associated with it is the only way to get that wound to finally heal.
And once you do, you won’t feel much, if anything, if the old wound is grazed again. As a matter of fact, you will be able to recall the event as if a spectator watching a show – and potentially even wish the offender well.
The forgiveness barometer.
We each have our own internal forgiveness ‘barometer’ with the gauge constantly fluctuating from one extreme to the other. It’s true, just think about it! There are some misgivings which we’ll pardon without much effort, while others are like lead weights around our ankles, disallowing us to move anywhere near forgiveness.
The biggest challenge for each of us is how willing we are to allow ourselves to truly forgive – not as a matter of acquiescing, or trying to hush things up, or by allowing someone to be right or wrong – but for our own health, our own good. It’s a long, long road ahead if you’re not willing to put down all the issues you pick up along the way…
So here are three easy steps that I personally to do to help offload the ‘excess’ baggage in my life:
1. Pack it up.
Almost all of us can do this ‘pack it up’ part with little thought. Whatever the event or issue, we take it and bundle into a little emotional package. Some of us throw it on our back. Some of us put it in a pocket. Some of us parade it around and show others at every opportunity.
Packing up the negative instance is a great first step, because it allows us to look at the issue, analyse, criticise, and try to make sense of it. But in and of itself the act of packing it up is not forgiveness. All you’ve done is package up another piece of emotional luggage that you may carry through the rest of your life. That’s unless you move onto the next step…
2. Put it down.
This process tends to be harder than the first step, because it involves you displacing the negativity from your being and removing it from your core. You may wonder at my comment, thinking – why would anyone want to keep associating with a negative thing that happened in their life? Yes, it’s a little odd, but over time, people do start to identify with their sad stories, their fears and woes. Even to the point where they talk of them almost like badges of honour.
Depending on where you packed up the issue and how long ago you started carrying it, putting it down can indeed be difficult. However, the recognition that – no matter how old, fresh, small or severe the issue is – choosing not to carry it anymore is freeing and liberating beyond belief. It will allow you to finally breathe easier.
I’d like to be very clear here though. I’m not saying to pretend it didn’t happen, that’s not the step. This step is to realise you are carrying something that no longer serves your greatest and highest good. So put it down. Stop carrying it. However, putting it down, while a milestone in your forgiveness process, just means it’s there but you’re just not carrying it.
Perhaps right beside you, or behind you, or in front of you. Meaning you can pick up it far too easily again. So this last step, the hardest one, it the most vital.
3. Walk away.
So walking away doesn’t negate the fact that horrible or sad event ever happened. It doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt you. It doesn’t mean you are heartless or insensitive. In conjunction with the first two steps above, walking away empowers you to move on with your life. It’s strengthens you as you realise you do indeed have control over it and how much it will impact your life.
You know what happened, because you packed it up. You understand that while it did happen, it’s not part of you, because you put it down. And walking away allows you to put distance between you and it, thus creates the space on your path to welcome bigger and better things into your life. You won’t have the urge to pick it up again because it’s no longer near you — and you are too busy moving forward, looking ahead.
Rinse & repeat.
While this is indeed a three-step process, it’s not necessarily a once-off one. You may find you have to repeat a step or two to truly be able to walk away. But the love and light you will feel once you truly forgive is worth the exercise.
Remember, you are worth it – so don’t give up. I say that because this process has truly helped me in my life, and I hope it gives you some insights on how you can walk your life’s journey only carrying things which serve your greatest and highest good. Big love to you my friends, namaste. xo