How to Cultivate Forgiveness

Do you find it difficult to forgive? Human beings are prone to acting out of their compulsions and desires, making mistakes along the way. When you go through tough lessons in life, you will encounter situations that demand you forgive people. These could be a wide variety of people – those who hurt you, or did not give you your due, or made you feel less, or caused you agony and misery, or deserted you in a relationship. If you carry this emotional baggage for long, you will be living in hurt and pain, all of which is avoidable.

For the sake of your own wellbeing and happiness, learn to practice complete forgiveness and move on without bitterness. Here are some steps you can take in this direction.

  1. Know exactly how you feel about what has happened. You must be able to communicate what you don’t like about the situation. Tell a couple of trusted people about your experience or talk out aloud to yourself.
  2. Forgiveness does not necessarily mean reconciliation with the person who hurt you, or even condoning what they did. What you are really want, is to find peace. Forgiveness can be defined as the “peace and understanding that comes from blaming what has hurt you, taking the experience less personally and changing your perspective of the grievance story.”
  3. Get the right perspective on what is happening. Recognize that your primary distress is coming from your hurt feelings and the pain you are suffering now, not the thing that offended you two minutes – or ten years – ago. Forgiveness helps to heal these hurt feelings.
  4. Accept what has happened in totality. As long as you remain in denial, you remain prone to anger and anguish. Remember, it is NOT what happens to you that is important, but how you take it. What the other person is doing or saying is about them and has little to do with you. Stop expecting things from other people; they are not going to behave as per your demands. Do not stop the flow of love from your heart just because you are hurt. Understand that whatever has happened and will happen is the Divine Will and is happening for the greater good of everyone.
  5. Put your energy into looking at other ways to meet your goals instead of focusing on the experience that hurt you. Rather than mentally replaying the hurt over and over again, seek out new ways to get what you want to achieve.
  6. Remember that your best revenge is a life well lived. Instead of focusing on your wounded feelings and giving the other person power over you, look for love, beauty and kindness around you. Forgiveness is about developing personal power.
  7. Amend your grievance story so that it reminds you of the heroic choice you made of forgiving. Once everything is sorted out in your mind, go deep within your heart and then dwell deeper in the ocean of compassion. Swim in it and mentally affirm: “I forgive”.
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