5 Steps to Freedom through Forgiveness
You try to forgive. You say you have forgiven. Then it seems like out of nowhere you are replaying scenes of old hurts and resentments. You watch yourself going through it all again and again in your mind. It takes up so much head space and mental energy. You are ready to truly find forgiveness. What do you do? This week I will show you a simple, 5-step process to achieving freedom in your life through forgiveness. Over the next several weeks we are going deep into building a relationship with your dream and the person living your dream. This piece includes building more life giving relationships with everyone in your life. Now learn how to maintain a sense of peace, no matter what may have happened to you in the past.
Let me walk you through a simple forgiveness process. Let me say right up front that once you go through this process, you may need to remind yourself that you have forgiven and released the situation. You have a habit around the way you see a particular situation, and it may want to pop back up. But when you understand the true reason for forgiveness, you realize that it is worth the effort to establish a new habit of forgiveness. You know the freedom is worth it.
First of all, let’s lay some groundwork around the reason you need to forgive in the first place. We need to forgive when we have given someone else the power to determine our worth, our value and wellbeing. We have literally turned over our own sense of value, our worthiness to someone else. We allow someone else’s behavior to cause us to feel diminished.
A key piece of forgiveness is to realize just who you really are as a divine son or daughter of the Universe. It is also important to realize that we live in a world with other human beings who are all living at different levels of awareness, doing the absolute best they can. It does not excuse poor behavior, but it helps you realize that the behavior of another says more about them than you.
The other piece to realize about forgiveness is that is frees you as much as it does the other person. You can’t keep someone imprisoned in your mind without you having to play the role of the jailer. You are swimming in a sea of toxic energy that you generate with continued thoughts of judgement, anger and resentment. His Holiness the Dalai Lama once said that holding resentment was like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
Again, it does not excuse any unskilled behavior on the part of the other person, and you don’t want to do a spiritual bypass. If you are reading this, there is something in you that is ready to let it go and move forward.
As we get into the process, I first encourage you to make a decision to forgive. Decide right now that you are ready to let this go, to let the other person go and reclaim all of the mental, emotional and spiritual energy that has been tied up in nursing this hurt or resentment. Make a decision that you will now lay this down and open up to allow a whole new level of abundance and good into your life.
The other thing to realize is that forgiving does not mean that you put yourself in the position to allow it to happen again. People will often hold on to anger and hurt as a way to protect themselves. When you truly forgive and let it go, you access your own power and the power of the Source of all life. You develop the capacity to recognize signals sooner, and act in empowering ways for yourself. You learn to do it from a place of Center rather than from a place of anger and defensiveness.
Here is my 5-step system for accessing forgiveness:
Step 1–Give voice to the hurt
Bring a situation to mind and write down the pain you felt around it. Set some time aside to journal about the situation and just pour all of the hurt and betrayal, anger, and resentment out on paper. Hold nothing back. You don’t want to do a spiritual bypass on this and pretend that everything is ok. Let yourself feel the feelings. You are not going to stay there, and you want to acknowledge that part of you that was hurt.
As you do this, notice that there is a part of you that is not caught up in the human drama of the situation. Notice that you have an observer part of you. Feel at home in your skin, even as you are allowing the human part of you to process the human pain. This is the eternal you that was there at the beginning of time and will be with you beyond your last breath. This is your true, essential self, and your ability to access this awareness is your key to freedom and forgiveness.
Step 2–Release the hurt
After you have laid everything out, take that paper and burn it. As it burns, see it being released with all of your pain into the arms of the Universe. As you do this, become even more aware of the eternal you. See Love’s presence literally absorbing your hurt and transforming it to love.
Step 3–See your part in the situation. Then replay the scene in your mind according to how you would have liked it to go.
For a long time, because of the kind of environment I grew up in, I attracted guys who could be really unkind and sometimes down right mean in their behaviors. Looking back, I saw the signals. But because I didn’t see myself as someone who deserved love, I stayed in situations that anyone else would have left long before I ever did.
For example, there was a guy in college who would call me at 11:30 p.m. at night to go out. He didn’t want to go any earlier because he didn’t want to be seen with me. In his eyes, I didn’t measure up. I wasn’t attractive enough for him. Notice if you feel anything just reading that. The thing to remember is that I went with him. At the time, I thought that was the best I deserved, and I kept hoping I could convince him otherwise. A key piece of my healing was to come to know who I really am and to know just how worthy of love I am. Looking back, I know that if I could have done better, I would have. And the same goes for him. We were both two broken people at that moment doing the best we could.
This is important because so often you can either see yourself in an unkind light or think it was all the other person. To truly be able to forgive, it is important to see the part you played in the experience. Ask yourself, “what is it that I now know or need to know in order to create a different experience?” For me, in that situation, it was to come to really know just how deserving of love I am. I would never do that sort of thing today because I am just not the same person.
As you walk through this part, what new awareness is waiting for you to claim for yourself? Please hear me, this is not about blaming the victim, it is about claiming what you know to be true about who you are so you show up differently and create different experiences for yourself. So, what part did you have in this situation, and what can you now tell yourself?
As you do this, go back in your mind’s eye and replay the scene according to how you would have liked to have shown up and the way you have like for it to have gone. Neville Goddard, the author of The Power of Awareness, has a tool called the pruning shears of revision. He talks about replaying a scene in your mind seeing it the way you would have liked it to go. As you do this, you see yourself showing up as the you that you are today. It reinforces your new identity, and literally changes your experience with the incident.
So in my situation, I have replayed it where I am saying to him that I am not going to see him. If he wants to see me, then we go on a real date at a real place at a real time because I am worth that.
You get to make it up anew.
Then think about whether there is anything you need to do to clean up your side of the street. Are amends in order on your part? It makes no difference what the other person may or may not do, or if they have apologized to you. This is about your freedom. It may be that there is nothing for you to make amends for with the other person.
Once you explore that piece in your mind in regards to the other person, ask if there is something to forgive yourself for. I know that I had to really work with forgiving myself for getting in the car and going out with him because I thought so little of myself. I forgive myself and more importantly, offer myself such compassion and love for ever thinking that about myself. Forgiveness turns to compassion for both you and the other person.
Step 4–Offer compassion
As you see the part you may have played and the way you viewed yourself, you can begin to also see places where you know you would do it differently today. If you are really paying attention, you begin to feel a sense of true tenderness toward yourself. You see how if you knew better, you would have done things completely differently. It is the same for the other person. You begin to understand that if people could do different, they would.
In order to forgive, you must know your fundamental goodness and worthiness deep down in your core. You can’t hold on to anger and resentment when you get in touch with just how precious and cherished you are within the sight of the Universe. The feelings are incompatible. The more aware you become of just how worthy you are, the more you are able to let go of the hurt and pain, and bask in love. It also means that you are more able to extend this same compassion to the other person.
Now, a word of caution. Again, this does not mean that you put yourself back in the position for it to happen again. In fact, real love means knowing when and how to say, “that is not acceptable.” It is realizing that the greatest act of love is inviting people to treat you with respect as you do with them. The more grounded you are, the more you will hear guidance on how to handle unskilled behaviors in another person in a loving, empowering way for you.
Step 5–Pray for the other person every day for 30 days
Pray for the same things that you want for yourself. If you want peace of mind, pray that the other person also achieves peace of mind. Remember, you can’t do something for one person and have a different experience yourself. You can’t pray for peace of mind for yourself, and wish harm to the other person all in the same breath. You are the one generating that energy.
Prayers for peace of mind for the other person are actually prayers for you. As you pray for another, you pray for yourself. Remember, you are the container within which all things occur. There may be a part of you that wants to resist this. Nevertheless, you want the freedom that comes with this process. It is an amazing thing when you can think of someone toward whom you once felt such anger and hurt, and now you feel peace. They can then walk down the streets of your mind in peace. That means you are also at peace.
As you stay faithful to this practice, watch as you also grow in the awareness of your own beauty and wholeness. You become more able to truly be present for yourself and others.
Ready to forgive? Here’s how: write down all of your pain, burn it to release to the arms of Spirit. Go back to see if you had any part in creating or harboring that pain. Then replay the situation in your mind according to how you would have liked to see it happen, and who you would have liked to have been. Offer compassion to yourself and the other person, and pray for the other person every day for 30 days.
Join me on Facebook Live next Monday, June 25 at 12:15 p.m. PST, and prepare to make the leap with your big, bold dream!