When we hold on to a past hurt, we remain a prisoner of the persons who hurt us in the first place. We grant them what they wished for. We give them the power to continue to hurt us for eternity.
Most of us mistake forgiveness as acceptance or condoning the actions of the persons who hurt us. It is not.
Forgiveness is the process of releasing the toxic emotions and thoughts associated with the person or event that you wish to forgive. These emotions are harmful to our psyche and body. By forgiving, we are becoming emotionally detached to the pain caused by the event or person.
What is important to know about forgiveness is that it heals the mind and the body. Suppressed emotions are the harbinger of diseases in the human body. What begins as hurtful thoughts manifests as diseases in our body.
So how can we forgive someone who wounded us deeply?
1) Open up:
The first and foremost step is to accept the fact that you are hurt. Pretending that it does not matter when, in fact, you are wounded deeply will not help. Tell the story to a sympathetic listener. Open up and confess how much emotionally or physically hurt you felt at the moment. Express your anger and let it all out. Vent about it through writing if you don't trust anyone enough to confess your innermost feelings.
2) Understand what happens when you relive the hurt:
Every time we relive a particular event or remember the person, our memory triggers the creation of the same chemicals and hormones that had been created by our brain when you had undergone it in the first place. You allow yourself to get hurt every time you remember it. It is like reopening a wound to see if it has healed completely. Don't you want freedom from that pain?
3) Be willing to forgive:
When we think about something that happened in our past, we are getting connected to it or the person who caused it by an energy cord. In the act of forgiving, we are cutting that energy cord which keeps us chained to those painful memories. When you realise that you want freedom from these chains, you become willing to forgive. Do not force yourself to forgive someone. Give yourself time. But realise that the sooner you forgive, the sooner you embrace peace and well-being.
4) The forgiveness ritual:
The enlightened beings or gurus understood the importance of forgiveness. There are many methods to forgive.
I find the Hawaiian ritual of forgiveness very effective.
a) Hawaiian ritual of forgiveness
Imagine yourself standing on a stage. Feel a white light enveloping you like a spotlight. This is the cosmic energy or God's energy. Let this light bathe you and heal you. Now, imagine the person you need to forgive entering this spotlight. Let the same energy bathe him/her. Become aware of an energy cord that connects you to this person. Tell this person that you have forgiven him/her. Ask for forgiveness, thank the divine. Now cut the energy cord by intention and affirmation and imagine the person leaving the white light. Feel the positive vibe you feel.
What you are doing through this process is allowing your mind to let go. It is affirming that we are not a victim anymore. Repeat it as often as you find it necessary.
Affirmations can be written down or spoken out loud. Affirmations are a method of self-hypnosis. You have to repeat this at least 10 times like a mantra. Writing it down in longhand on a paper is far more effective.
A typical form of forgiveness affirmation is given below.
I have used these techniques many times. Trust me, it felt like a heavy load was off my chest.
Try it if you need to forgive someone and move on.
Do tell me of other methods that you might be practising.