Tag Archives: Forgiveness

The Art of Forgiveness

women_sex_11161There’s no way around it, when someone has wronged us, it hurts. It often hurts a lot for a very long time. The injury could be minor, though profound, like a betrayal by a friend, or it could be major, like a physical assault. The point of the saying is that, no matter the injury, we can’t truly move on until we learn to forgive. And that’s a very tough walk. Here are a few thoughts on the art of forgiveness and how we can all learn to cultivate it.

First of all, think of forgiveness as a gift to yourself, not a gift to your offender. When a deep injury is done to us, we’ll never recover until we forgive. It is a way to clear a blockage in our minds and move forward with new knowledge and new growth. We are a more evolved person after we forgive, and that’s our gift to ourselves.

Forgiveness requires empathy. It is essential that you begin the forgiveness process by putting yourself in the shoes of your offender. Imagine that pain and fear are behind his or her anger. Imagine a small child inside your enemy who is as confused as you are about the injury. Imagine what it must feel like to walk with the guilt of having hurt someone. It doesn’t matter if your offender will ever actually get to the conscious place of feeling guilt and remorse. He or she need not seek your forgiveness in order for you to have a transformation. This process is about you. But it is helpful to come up with some explanation for your offender’s heinous action that feels rational to you. This is your mental journey. So, whether you imagine their bad childhood, their feelings of racial or gender persecution, or their feelings of envy toward you, find a reason for their bad behavior.


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Now, from that place of understanding, make a conscious decision to forgive that person. Create a private action that supports your decision. Write an unsent letter to them, light a candle and say a prayer in their name, or simply stick a post-it on your bathroom mirror that says “I forgive (insert name) I have feelings of love for (insert name).” This is a secret act but it’s a powerful action for brain change. For a few weeks, return daily to these private actions of forgiveness. Reread that letter. Relight that candle. Say the words on the post-it out loud. This is a way to rewire your brain.

The biggest step toward forgiveness is to express it to your offender. Whether you do it in an email (easiest) on the phone or in person (best, if possible) it must be done so that you can move on. And the tricky part of forgiveness is this: to express forgiveness without expressing blame. Your words should focus on your own feelings of hurt rather than the act that caused the injury. So, instead of saying, “I forgive you for stealing from me, you jerk,” you might say something like, “I felt so betrayed when I lost that money. But now I am letting go of those feelings. I want the best for you.” This is your journey and this higher level communication will speak to the highest level of your offender’s personality.

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And, be reminded that forgiveness in not a magic trick to change someone else. Even if you change, the other person may not. And that’s okay. And finally, know that forgiveness takes maintenance. During future life stresses, old feelings about this injury may bubble up again. Each time they do, quietly walk those feelings back to bed with the same techniques. Eventually enough time will pass that those memories will lose their emotional punch. Forgiveness is the most mentally freeing experience. I encourage you to try it.

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FOR COUPLES: How To Forgive A Cheater

what-to-do-when-husbands-cheatLet’s face it, sexual infidelity is probably one of the worst things that can happen to a couple. But many, many couples are able to survive a bout of infidelity and stay together. In some cases, those couples say that their relationship quality got even better  — working through the transgression created an even deeper bond.

Studies of couples who survived cheating, found that the partners had a much easier time forgiving when the cheater self-reported rather than having the shameful event of having someone telling them. But whether you found out through a tip or a confession, here are three ways to survive infidelity:

1. Seek professional help. It is much easier to process your feelings with the guidance of a caring therapist. Remember, a therapist considers the relationship to be the patient and rather than taking sides, will work to help you make the relationship healthy again.

2. Minimize the event. Research shows that when a partner is able to consider the infidelity as a one-time thing and not make it explode into feelings that your partner is untrustworthy about every thing, it is easier to get back into a place of love and respect.

3. Fight the Feeling of Being a Victim. When ever couples have conflict, if one person constantly goes into a victim act, defending themselves, it shuts the lines of communication or creates a bickering war over who was more victimized. Instead of playing the victim, empower yourself with thoughts that the affair is a challenge to the relationship, that you can meet and solve.

Remember, forgiveness is a gift to yourself. Holding resentment is like drinking poison and hoping someone else will die. For more tips of other types of forgiveness, watch my video, HOW TO FORGIVE SOMEONE, here: