Forgive someone who has hurt you deeply. That is the key to success, freedom and lifelong happiness.
Holding resentment and anger towards someone is a heavy burden to bear. These negative emotions can affect every area of your life, which is why it is so important to learn how to forgive. If forgiveness was a ‘walk in the park', everyone would be doing it.
Keep in mind that forgiving someone doesn't mean that you forget about the pain. Rather, it's about becoming the hero of your story and empowering yourself to let go of the suffering of past. There is no better way to move forward into the future. Harvard researcher and physician George Vaillant describes forgiveness as one of the eight positive emotions that support us in leading healthier, happier and more connected lives.
When we forgive others, we forgive ourselves as well. That is when the real healing begins. In the words of Buddha, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent to throw it at someone—you are the one getting burned.” Are you ready to learn how you can forgive someone who has hurt you?
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Are you ready to forgive someone and embark upon the journey of healing?
Although at times it may seem impossible to do, forgiveness is a learnable skill that anybody can master. The problem is that a lot of people aren't willing to let go of their story. By holding onto their pain, they think that they are empowering themselves, but this is far from true.
Thoughts of anger and resentment only serve to disempower you and suck away your energy, leaving you feeling trapped and stuck in the past. How would it feel if you could release these negative emotions?
In her book, Triumph of the Heart: Forgiveness in an Unforgiving World, Megan Feldman Bettencourt explores how forgiveness, when practiced in the right ways, can lead to a better world. As she puts it, “What has been traditionally seen as a religious ideal is now an important skill for anyone, whether atheist, agnostic, or believer, who seeks to live a healthy, happy life.”
To forgive is a choice, which means that it is entirely in your control. You cannot control who is going to hurt you, but you do have the power to control how you react to that hurt. How we choose to respond determines whether or not we will wallow in anger and hate, or rise above our circumstances and choose peace and happiness.
Let's explore 5 reasons why having the courage to forgive someone is the key to success, freedom and lifelong happiness.
1. Forgiveness allows you to reconnect with yourself.
When you practice forgiveness, you forgive yourself in the process. Not only does this allow you to release any negative energy and resistance that you may be feeling, it also makes space in your heart to reconnect with yourself. You don't need to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders for one day longer.
No matter what is going on in the outside world, when you stay grounded and make decisions that serve your highest self, you pave the way for a life of success, freedom, and happiness. In the words of Lewis Smedes, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free, and to discover that the prisoner was you.”
2. Forgiveness allows you to let go of the past.
It's one thing to forgive someone, but it's another to completely rid yourself of the resentment that you feel towards the person who has wronged you. Nobody wants to get hurt, but it happens. What you do with that hurt is equally as important as the actual experience of being hurt.
Why? Because holding onto past hurt means that you are unable to let go of the past, and if you are living in the past, you are stuck and can't move forward. Don't get me wrong. Your emotions matter, and it's important to feel them fully, but you need to know when to walk away and write a new chapter in the story of your life.
It starts with making a decision to let go. Are you ready?
3. Forgiveness is good for your health.
Have you ever had the experience of feeling sick to your stomach when you find out that someone has wronged you? It's a horrible feeling, especially if that person is close to you. Our mind and body are connected to one another, which is why when we experience negative emotions our physical body responds. By not practicing forgiveness, we can make ourselves sick.
Research shows that forgiveness is actually good for our health. According to the Mayo Clinic, forgiveness brings with it plenty of health benefits, including improved relationships, decreased anxiety and stress, lower blood pressure, a lowered risk of depression, and stronger immune and heart health.
By forgiving someone you heal yourself in the process, and that is the greatest gift of all.
4. Forgiveness is the beginning of the healing process.
Forgiveness isn't easy, especially when someone has deeply hurt you. Emotional wounds can haunt people for a lifetime, but they don't have to. What's the answer? Forgiveness.
When you can find the strength and courage to forgive, that is the moment at which your healing process will begin. No one deserves to experience pain, but everyone deserves to heal from it. It all starts and ends with you. If you are struggling to forgive someone, I encourage you to try practicing the mantra called the “Ho’oponopono” prayer.
Ho'oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian prayer used for healing, forgiveness and inner peace. In Hawaiian culture, they believe that not being able to forgive someone leads to disease and disconnect from your higher self. If you want to fully incorporate the Ho'oponopono prayer into your life, I encourage you to make it an integral part of your morning ritual.
5. Forgiveness allows you to stop playing the victim.
The best way to take back your power when you have been hurt by someone is to take responsibility for your life. If you don't open your heart to forgiveness, you continue to play the victim. I am in no way discrediting the pain that someone has inflicted upon you, but living with a victim mentality only serves to keep you stuck in the past.
Be mindful of how you talk to yourself, because what we say we attract into our lives. Do you define yourself by your pain? Calling yourself a victim will only continue to feed more negative experiences that put you back into victim mode again. Try choosing more positive words that honor and support your healing process. When you do, you will find freedom.
We cannot become the master of our lives if we choose to remain a victim. Give yourself permission to move out of victimhood. When you take the first step to empowering your life, you will start to notice a massive shift taking place in your consciousness. Feelings of anger, resentment, and guilt will slowly start to fade away and be replaced with self-love, compassion and freedom.
Now that we know the reasons why forgiveness is so important, the question still remains, “How do we forgive someone that has hurt us?” Forgiving someone that has hurt you can be challenging, but it is one of the most important decisions that you will ever make. It is your key to success, freedom, and lifelong happiness. Let's go through a 5-step process for how to forgive.
Step 1: Write Down The Name Of The Person That You Are Ready To Forgive
This is a simple, yet powerful exercise because it means that you are making a conscious decision to forgive someone. Oftentimes this is the hardest thing for people to do. Depending on the breadth and depth of hurt, it can sometimes feel near impossible. Try writing down the person's name and looking in the mirror and saying out loud to yourself, “I forgive you.” What comes up for you?
Step 2: Take Time To Process Your Emotions
Don't even think about forgiving someone until you have identified, accepted, and expressed all of your emotions. Who is this person that wronged you? What did they do, and how did this experience negatively impact your life? Forgiveness requires that we acknowledge the reality of what occurred.
When people hurt others, it's usually because they are acting from a place of pain and suffering. In their attempt to meet a need or fill a void in their life, they end up hurting others in the process. When we can separate intention from action, we start to witness people's behaviors through a different lens.
Step 3: Write A Forgiveness Letter
When it comes to emotional wounds, many people have a tendency to hold them deep inside their hearts, but there is power in writing down your thoughts and feelings on paper. Describe the situation and how it made you feel. Be specific. Did you feel shame, guilt, or anger, and what was it about the experience that made you feel these negative emotions?
You can either show your letter to the person who hurt you, or you can keep the letter for yourself. No matter what you decide to do, writing can be a very therapeutic process that allows you to cleanse the past. It may just be the one thing that allows you to change your perspective and move forward in life.
Step 4: Consciously Choose Compassion
Forgiveness is the natural process of learning how to move out of judgment and into compassion, both for yourself and others. Compassion is one of the most powerful ways to reclaim your power. By saying, “I forgive you”, you free yourself. When you become compassionate about the suffering of whoever caused you pain, it starts the process of dispelling your negative feelings towards them. It comes down to choosing love over anger.
At the end of the day, it is compassion for yourself and others that allows you to successfully let go of the pain that you've experienced at the hands of others. Once you have crossed this bridge, you will finally be free to live a life of inner peace.
Step 5: Commit To Forgive and Let Go
Lastly, make the conscious choice to no longer allow an event or person to define who you are and how you live your life. It's important to remember that forgiving and letting go doesn't mean that you forget about what happened, nor does it mean that you have to keep this person in your life.
Rather, it is a commitment to yourself that you will no longer let an experience negatively impact your life, and that you are ready to step outside of the shadows of your despair and choose happiness.
Who do you need to forgive today?
There is an immense amount of value in every act of forgiveness. If you are able to find the strength that is inside of your heart, always forgive. Send love and compassion to the people who have hurt you. To forgive is the ultimate form of healing.
By choosing to embrace forgiveness, you are choosing to embrace success, freedom and lifelong happiness. It all starts and ends with you. Robert Muller said it best – “To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.” Are you ready to forgive?
Are you ready to learn how you can master your life? CLICK HERE to join my Life Mastery Accelerator program!
Do you want to know what the 3 steps to self-forgiveness are? CLICK HERE to read the article that I wrote on Medium!