Indentifying the feelings you no longer need so that you can move on
Forgiveness is a pretty hard concept to come to terms with when you feel as if you have been treated unfairly. It can be hard to let go of bitterness and although our anger is an extremely good motivator it is very important that we learn to channel it in the right way if we can. When someone causes you hurt or pain the feeling can be so intense that it can seem impossible to think that we will ever find a clear state of mind again.
We don’t always understand our feelings, they can be hard to label and whilst so many different experiences in life create an unwillingness to forgive it is important that we take the time to understand why we don’t want to forgive. Once we have grasped hold of the reasons why we can’t forgive then we can begin to work on ourselves a little.
Many of us tend to think that forgiveness is accepting that the situation or person that has caused us harm is in someway okay. But it is quite the contrary and we don’t even need to understand the reasons behind why a person has treated us badly, but instead forgiveness offers you the chance to let go. It can be seen as an altered state of mind where we allow ourselves to move on in life rather than holding on to tormenting feelings which are actually blocking us and stopping us from progressing.
Psychotherapists and spiritual leaders believe that forgiveness is necessary in order to heal and many people who believe in forgiveness speak about the freedom they experience after letting go of bad feelings. But not everyone has it in them to forgive and your own willingness to forgive will depend upon your own personal experiences in life, your background and your upbringing. Some people want to forgive but just can’t find the strength within them to let go of ill feeling. Forgiveness can indeed be a long and tiring journey but it is something that everyone can work on, if they allow themselves to.
We all have different reasons for forgiveness. Some of us forgive out of obedience to our faith whilst others believe it is a conscious choice that we decide to make. We may say that we forgive someone but it doesn’t mean that we have forgotten and it certainly doesn’t mean that we agree with what they have done but to say you forgive someone must be because you truly mean it.
You must be ready within yourself first as trying to trick the subconscious mind where forgiveness is concerned can be an extremely frustrating process as the resentment that we really feel will simply get stored there and we may become repressed and detached without understanding why – this causes us to put up barriers, (barriers that are only visible to the people outside) therefore it stops warmth and love and instead pushes people away. So being aware of both our thinking and reactions is very important.
If you want to avoid bitterness then try keeping up with your emotions. Everyone deals with their emotions in a different way and those that are use to expressing their emotions will naturally feel more at east with themselves. If you are find it hard to show or express emotion it may be a good idea to at least record how you feel in some way. For example, if you resist admitting that you are upset or angry with your partner or someone that you love you may try and protect yourself by hiding the feeling of anger in fear of hassle or what it might do the relationship. Therefore each and every time you feel angry try and think of the long –term affects rather than the short term affects. You could even save the feeling for a certain period of time and then choose the right moment to express it, even if it means letter writing or an email rather than actually speaking it, it will help you to feel more grounded and should certainly feel as if a weight has been lifted in some way.
We all cause emotional hurt in some way, at some point in our lives, sometimes the hurt is intentional and sometimes it is unintentional. We may even blame others for the way we feel but a huge part of forgiveness is about ownership and responsibility and once we make that first move in allowing ourselves to take responsibility we can begin to see justice and positive outcomes. Resolutions can be reached in life if we are willing to commit to our own feelings first.
Things to help:
Recognise the situation for what it is by trying to look at it from an outside perspective. If you are finding it hard to forgive then perhaps try and understand the situation first. For example, if it is a person you are angry with then try and put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself how you would feel if you were them?
Try and think back at times where you had perhaps treated someone badly and try and recall how you felt. If you are angry at life perhaps think back 2-3 years and think about whether you were angry then. If you were not angry try and think about what it was you were doing at the time. Usually the anger will have stemmed from an event that you are finding hard to let go of.
Face the situation – ask for light and clarity. Once you have faced past anger and accepted it, you could be halfway there to letting go, moving on and finding new things to focus on such as love or friendship.
"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong". ~ Gandhi