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If you want to simplify your life and find deep inner peace, learn to forgive
""When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free." - Catherine Ponder
If you struggle with the burden of your childhood memories, or have angry or bitter feelings about a certain person or an incident that happened, then the one most powerful action you can take is to learn to forgive. Until you've really tried it, you cannot fathom the depth of release and freedom that you will feel when you can forgive another person and, even more importantly, forgive yourself.
What is forgiveness? Many will refuse to forgive because of the mistaken idea that to forgive means to condone an action and to allow a wrong-doer to go without any sort of consequence for his deed. In this respect, the belief is that forgiving someone is the same as saying that whatever they did was ok. This is not forgiveness.
Forgiveness actually focuses inward. Forgiveness is letting go of the emotional angst and bitterness toward a person. It is focusing with (likely painful) complete truth on the action, words, or event in question and deciding to let go of resentment, anger, dreams of revenge, hatred, and all other negatively charged emotions. Forgiveness empties all these restless, uncomfortable emotions and simply allows you to be filled with peace.
In this perspective, forgiveness is actually a selfish act because you are the one who benefits. Feelings of stress, depression, anxiety, pain, and bitterness that are associated with the person will be replaced with peaceful calm and strength.
Forgiveness does not mean that you have decided that the person did nothing wrong. If there was not some wrong doing that caused pain or loss, then in fact there would be nothing to forgive and forgiveness would not be possible. Forgiveness in itself means that you recognize the pain or loss and the action or words that caused it and that you are consciously choosing to stop allowing it to continue to hurt you.
Further, forgiving someone does not mean that they are absolved from their responsibility for what they did. It does not mean that they will not have to suffer a consequence or a rightful punishment for their wrong doing. That person may need to learn from their consequences and the learning process may prevent them from repeating the behavior.
The act of forgiving does not even require that you tell the person that you have forgiven them. Telling a person that you have forgiven them is important only when it is an essential element of deepening and continuing a relationship, or if it holds a healing power for you personally. So, for example, you may find it essential to tell your husband that you have forgiven him of something and that the incident is now a part of the past, but you may not need to locate and inform a cruel tormenter from your high school years that she has now been forgiven.
The act of forgiving has simple steps but the process can seem complex or difficult. A good time to begin the process of forgiveness is when the memory of the hurtful action or person is full on your mind. Instead of pushing the memory away, stay immersed in it. Look at it with as clear of a mind as you can. What exactly happened? Just allow it to be in your mind and observe it as much like observing a movie as possible. You are safe in the memory - the action is in the past and you are physically in the present. See it all the way through as it happened. Don't distort, avoid, make excuses, or try to analyze anything. What happened, simply happened.
Now take a deep breath and resolve to let it all go. You may even want to say out loud that you have decided to accept that this happened and you are going to honor it as a lesson and let go of all resentment, anger, thoughts of wishing it was different, and thoughts of getting revenge on the person. It happened; it can't be changed; you experienced your anger, and whatever other emotions you experienced; and you are now choosing to turn your gaze to your present and to your future. You are letting go of the burden of all the negative emotions. You are free. Your mind is clear and powerful.
Practice this whenever a painful memory floats up. It is a journey and not a one-time-cures-all. As you keep clearing past memories, you will be amazed at how much lighter, clearer, more joyful, more creative, and more receptive to love you are. Smile and carry on.
Article by Patti Tokar, Simple Life Corp
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