No matter what your goals—whether you yearn to feel free, become empowered, lose weight, be more loving or break a sugar habit—you may not be able to move forward or succeed until you forgive your loved ones, friends, yourself or even strangers who harmed and wronged you, whether deliberately or unintentionally. Here are seven simple, easy-to-remember steps to help you forgive others and yourself.
As I can personally attest, when you feel forgiveness in your heart, it’s easier to be happy, productive, accomplish your goals and be at peace with yourself. You see, absolving and pardoning another is really less about other people and more about being true, kind and respectful of ourselves. Likewise, humbly and remorsefully atoning for our sins and transgressions against others is a way to give ourselves the esteem and value we deserve.
Not forgiving someone else and not repenting for the wrongs you’ve committed can:
- Rob you of your power and strip you of your dignity.
- Keep you trapped in anger, indignation and resentment.
- Make you feel helpless, stuck and frustrated.
- Harm you physically or emotionally.
- Stop you from enjoying relationships or reveling in your accomplishments.
On the other hand, forgiving others or asking for forgiveness can:
- Free, heal, nurture and release you.
- Fill you with lightness, compassion and good will.
- Ennoble, empower and enliven you.
- Bring you closer to God or goodness.
- Refresh, reward and renew you.
I now invite you to try out seven simple steps that I developed, which spell out the word “Forgive.”
Face the facts.
Own up to the reality that you need to forgive another person or yourself. If you don’t accept that you’re stuck in a bitter, unforgiving, intolerant quicksand, you’ll never get out of your rut to live a sweet, fulfilling, enriching life.
Oust the anger.
Even if you feel that the other person’s offenses are real and your anger is justified, you should resolve to shed your fury, resentment and bitterness.
Remember the offenses.
Recall the harms inflicted on you. Mind you, I’m not suggesting that you wallow or stew in self pity. Instead, I’m recommending that you take some paper and recount all or your or another’s transgressions. State: “I fully and freely forgive _____________ (person’s name) for ______________” (spell out what the person did). Your list could go on and on, but always make sure to “fully and freely forgive” first. Now read your list out loud several times. Then take a match to it and burn it in the sink. (This is very freeing, but please be careful not to start a fire or hurt yourself!) Repeat this process, if desired.
Give the benefit of the doubt.
Realize that, in most instances, the person(s) who harmed you was probably being either selfish or self-involved and was not out to hurt you. But if she or he had underlying, callous, unkind thoughts, then shower that person with pity, kindness and empathy. Looking at these “sinners”—or even yourself—with this kind of compassion and understanding can help to release you.
Imagine what forgiveness feels like.
Now visualize yourself breaking free with forgiveness. Pray to God for forgiveness, too, if you wish. Then create and repeat forgiveness affirmations or mantras in front of the mirror. One such forgiveness affirmation could be:
“I fully and freely forgive ______________ (person’s name), and I am now released. Harmony, peace and good will reign supreme between ______________ (person’s name) and me.”
Value the experience.
Realize that forgiveness can be powerful and effective—perhaps as important as eating nourishing foods, exercising and believing in yourself. Acknowledge that letting go of your acrimony, animosity and antagonism can totally transform and improve your life.
Approaching another to apologize completes your seven-step process and helps you to achieve a joyous, merciful frame of mind. (If the person is no longer on this earth, imagine yourself humbly asking forgiveness and the other person pardoning you.)
I hope that simply reading these easy seven steps to “FORGIVE” will begin to ennoble, educate and empower you. Now, I invite you to begin pardoning those folks who’ve affronted you. Remember, by forgiving someone, you’ll free up space in your heart and being for more wonderful things to arrive.