Of course it depends on the situation, some things are easier than others, but truth be told I can struggle with forgiveness. I struggle with forgiveness if I feel I am owed a heartfelt apology and I don't get one or if I've done something stupid that I regret. Forgiving myself and others...forgiveness can be messy!
Do you struggle with forgiveness? Sometimes I feel like a hypocrite because I know it's important to overall well-being and happiness and yet sometimes it can seem so gosh darn hard!!!
The injustice, the wound, the hurt feelings ughhh! I'm a kind and decent person, it's just feels so unfair sometimes! And don't you even think about hurting my babies...yikes the mama bear comes out! Oh and by the way, don't wound my loved ones either, I can mama bear them too in a heartbeat. Blaahhhh what am I saying I'm the happiness coach???
Forgiveness is a muscle. The more we use it, the more we practice it, the stronger it gets, the easier it gets, the better that we get at doing it.
Anger and bitterness cause dis-ease. There is a quote by Buddha that I love, it says, "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned."
People who practice forgiveness are healthier, happier, live longer, have less depression, lower levels of stress and they have longer marriages. A Course in Miracles says that, "Forgiveness is the key to happiness." I truly believe that to be the case.
So what do we do when we struggle with forgiving someone? What do we do if we've tried and just can't seem to make it happen?
Gabby Bernstein asks, "Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?" That is so true sometimes isn't it? She suggests that we make practicing forgiveness a daily practice, a daily devotion, a daily intention to forgive yourself and to forgive others. She says that to want to forgive, to have the willingness to forgive is enough. She also recommends that we look inward and ask ourselves what was my role in the situation?
I love what Marianne Williamson says, "If you want to change it pray for them. Pray for the person's happiness for 30 days every morning for 5 minutes." She goes on to say, "In the beginning it's really hard, but so what? Is it easy to sit there with the anger and bitterness and toxicity and blame? It's so much easier to bless someone versus blame them, not immediately, but long-term."
Forgiveness is not about forgetting, but about letting go. It is about choosing positive emotions over negative ones.
Exercising empathy is also an important piece to forgiveness. I remind myself that I'm seeing things through my own lens, from my perspective and that there are many other viewpoints, angles and possibilities. I also work to look for the lesson. What did I bring to the table and what can I learn from it?
I am working on building my forgiveness muscle. Each day I am setting my intention to forgive myself and others and to have a willingness to forgive. Each day I am praying for the happiness of those I desire to forgive. Each day I am choosing positive emotions over negative emotions.
Will you join me in flexing and strengthening your forgiveness muscle? I would love to hear your feedback. Do you sometimes struggle with forgiveness? What strategies do you use to help you practice forgiveness? Was this post helpful to you? Please drop me a comment or send me an email.