I used to really struggle with forgiveness. I had a really hard time letting go of disappointments and difficulties put upon me by someone else, or even worse, myself. I used to hold on to grudges and anger, with the notion that if I didn’t, it meant that I was excusing bad or inappropriate behavior. I also used to be really unhappy, angry, tired, and stuck. The moment I decided to reframe what it really means to forgive is the moment my life began to change.
It’s true, forgiveness can be really hard, but we make it even harder when we view it from a place of letting someone off the hook, rather than a practice for finding freedom from pain, and an opportunity for lessons to be learned. When we start to see past pains as moments for growth, we can start to embrace the practice of forgiveness.
Feeling pain, disappointment, trauma, and sadness are ties that bind us. We’ve all been there and experienced moments that make us question everything. It’s comforting for me to know that we’re all in this together in that sense, and we are all faced with challenges that we must overcome, to feel free, find peace, and live the lives we are meant to lead.
This week, I hope to share with you my five keys to forgiveness, with the intent of shining a light on a practice that can change your life, if you let it.
1. Forgiveness is a self-care practice. Though it might feel like you are forgiving for someone else, the truth is, we forgive to set ourselves free. Forgiveness cuts the cords of the past that no longer serve us in the present.
2. Forgiveness isn’t quick. Though we might like for the anger and resentment to dissolve overnight, forgiveness can take time. Remember to release the timeline and continue to show up each day, willing to forgive.
3. Forgiveness is about feeling and releasing. Especially when we’ve been wronged, we tend to want to avoid feeling the feelings that come along with a difficult situation, because we didn’t bring it upon ourselves. No matter what occurred, remember to give yourself time to feel. It’s okay to feel feelings, and to recognize what is coming up for you in any given moment. Once the feelings are acknowledged is when we can begin to release them.
4. Forgiveness teaches us where boundaries are needed. I love to view difficult situations as opportunities to learn, particularly about myself. When we begin to forgive, we start to learn where we could do better in the future, and where we need to establish boundaries in the name of self-care and self-preservation. Strongly set boundaries set a tone for what you will and will not tolerate moving forward.
5. Forgiveness reminds us to live in the present moment. Whenever we find that we can’t forgive, we often are falling back into narratives from the past and replaying old stories. When we finally open up to forgiveness we are able to come back to life in the present, which is where life’s real power lies.
I hope these five reminders are helpful for you in your path to forgiveness. In all of the practices that we’ve talked about here on the blog, I’ve found that forgivness, though difficult, is the most transformational tool we can use when moving through life. I’d love to her your thoughts, let’s keep the conversation going in the comments below!
Michelle is Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life's Creative Director and resident writer. She has a degree in Journalism from Indiana University and is also a certified holistic health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and registered yoga teacher with trainings with Anuttara Yoga Shala and Strala Yoga. Michelle has a deep desire to help people find happiness in all areas of their lives, and truly believes the Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life movement will bring lasting change to the world. Michelle splits her time between Florida and New York City and loves connecting with people from all over the world. If you'd like to contact her, she can be reached at email@example.com