Forgiveness is the moment to moment experience of peace and understanding that occurs when an injured party’s suffering is reduced as they transform their grievance against an offending party. This transformation takes place through learning to take less personal offense, attribute less blame to the offender and, by greater understanding, see the personal and interpersonal harm that occurs as the natural consequence of unresolved anger and hurt.
Forgiveness involves a sense of felt unity with one who has hurt us. From the point of view of development, a sense of unity can be regressive or progressive. It is argued that healthy forgiveness is transpersonal. Healthy and unhealthy forms of forgiveness can be understood by examining the prepersonal, personal, and transpersonal motivations for forgiveness. The central paradox in forgiving is defined as the other needing to be recognized as a different person before there can be a healthy sense of unity.
The Core Components of Forgiveness:
- View the offense less personally.
- Take responsibility for your own emotional experience.
- Change the story to reflect the heroic choice to grow and prosper.
How to Forgive
- Know exactly how you feel about what happened and be able to articulate what about the situation is not OK, then tell a couple of trusted people about your experience.
- Make a commitment to yourself to do what you have to do to feel better.
Forgiveness is for you and not for anyone else. No one else even has to know about your decision.
- Understand your goal.
Forgiveness does not necessarily mean reconciliation with the person that upset you, or condoning of their action. What you are after is to find peace. Forgiveness can be defined as the “peace and understanding that come from blaming that which has hurt you less, taking the life experience less personally, and changing your grievance story.”
- Get the right perspective on what is happening.
Recognize that your primary distress is coming from the hurt feelings, thoughts and physical upset you are suffering now, not what offended you or hurt you two minutes – or ten years -ago.
- At the moment you feel upset practice the a simple stress management technique to soothe your body’s flight or fight response.
- Give up expecting things from other people, or your life, that they do not choose to give you. Recognize the “unenforceable rules” you have for your health or how you or other people must behave. Remind yourself that you can hope for health, love, friendship and prosperity and work hard to get them. However, you will suffer when you demand these things occur when you do not have the power to make them happen.
- Put your energy into looking for another way to get your positive goals met than through the experience that has hurt you.
Instead of mentally replaying your hurt seek out new ways to get what you want.
- Remember that a life well lived is your best revenge.
Instead of focusing on your wounded feelings, and thereby giving the person who caused you pain power over you, learn to look for the love, beauty and kindness around you.
- Amend your grievance story to remind you of the heroic choice to forgive.
Research on the Benefits of Forgiveness
On average, people who practice forgiveness experience the following:
- 70% decrease in feelings of hurt
- 27% reduction in physical symptoms of stress, including backache, headache and stomach pain
- 27% reduction in physical symptoms related to sleeplessness, listlessness and dizziness
- 13% reduction in long-term experience of anger
- 35% increase in the level of forgiveness for the person who caused them pain
Forgiveness & Acceptance for Enlightenment
Forgiveness is an aspect of acceptance/love/peace/truth. Resentment is an aspect of hatred/emotionalism/negativity/falsehood. Forgiveness brings utter peace and serenity of mind. Resentment brings inner turmoil and suffering. Acceptance/forgiveness means choosing to see the absolute perfection and beauty in everything.
Everything/everyone is currently operating at its own level of awareness and/or evolution. Everyone/everything is what it is right now because that’s what it needs to learn, or unlearn. People are what they are, and make mistakes, because they really don’t know otherwise or they don’t want to know otherwise. If they really knew otherwise, they would already be otherwise.