Forgiveness is one of the most conflicting issues when it comes to personal growth and living a peaceful life. This is mainly due to the various interpretations and meanings we all have with regard to forgiveness, most of which we inherit from others and the world.
Conceptually forgiveness is complicated, and it can feel completely insane when you’ve been injured by another person.
This quote sums up what we are trying to accomplish with forgiveness.
â€œFreedom is what you do with whatâ€™s been done to you.â€ ~Jean-Paul Sartre
Forgiveness is about making peace with the people and situations in your life that keep you imprisoned when you can’t let go of the hate, resentment, bitterness, and anger.
Forgiveness is not about condoning hurtful acts or behaviors, and it’s not about forgetting.
Forgiveness is a commitment you make to yourself to not carry any negative thoughts or feelings beyond their purpose for understanding and healing.
Forgiveness does not need to be savored for the most heinous acts either. It can be practiced daily with even the smallest errors.
You might need to practice self-forgiveness as much as forgiving others because most of us are way harder on ourselves than anyone else.
There are 3 basic steps to practicing forgiveness:
Acknowledge that you need to forgive someone or to be more forgiving in general.
The first step with any kind of transformation or recovery is admitting that you need to improve or change. People are so quick to say “I’ll never forgive”, but not forgiving takes as much (or more) energy than being forgiving. Forgiveness is not a capacity, it’s a choice. Make that choice today.
Commit to being a forgiving person by choosing that as your path.
Just owning this will shift your self-perception, and ultimately how you relate to others. Literally walk around saying “I’m a forgiving person” to yourself. Any nasty person or situation can pull us away from our own values, so you have to dig your heels into the sand of forgiveness to stay true to who you are.
Educate yourself about forgiveness.
There are no real hard and fast rules about forgiveness, but we have lots of research on the subject. Challenge your beliefs and what you think you know, and supplement it with a more expansive definition of what it means to forgive. Taking something as important as this at face value is dangerous, and limiting. Start by clicking [here](http://learningtoforgive.com/).
This is the beginning of a forgiveness practice. It will be an ongoing struggle as issues and people will test your ability daily.
Just come back to your core values of forgiveness, and know that this higher road elevates your quality of life, and your capacity for deep love.
Dr. Andra Brosh September 24th, 2014