Are you dealing with a hurtful situation that's taking far too much emotional energy? Maybe you've been hurt in a love relationship or cheated financially. Perhaps the negative attitude or behavior of a friend, family member, co-worker or neighbor continues to antagonize you as well.
Reaching even further back, do issues from childhood still haunt and cause you a good deal of hurt?
There is a way to lighten your load, reclaim your life and get things back on track. That way is forgiveness. Working through a process that leads to forgiveness is a powerful antidote to emotional pain. Releasing negative emotions and arriving at that place where forgiveness is possible is the best way to move forward with your life.
If you have been hurt by another, you might pause to ask, 'Could forgiving someone prove to be self-defeating -- even dangerous? What if I forgive only to find this person coming back to hurt me again?'
Keep in mind that you can implement measures for self-protection and still work towards forgiveness. You can decide to ask for appropriate protection if someone is stalking you, for example. Or, you can move away from the person who's interfering with your life. Forgiveness does not mean foolishness. It may have been an expensive lesson, but the learning is yours now.
By learning how to forgive, we take back whatever power we might previously have lost. If it's appropriate to tell the other person that we choose to forgive them, this can diffuse tension as well. When we verbalize our forgiveness, it can ease tension, bringing with it a calmness that had previously been denied. Alternatively, wemay choose to forgive and not tell the person who has offended us, and this is fine, too.
Perhaps we can see forgiveness as a boundary, something that limits negative energy from actively poisoning our personal space. When we forgive, we are proactively saying, 'I release my self and my emotions from your grip. I will not hate you. I will not allow that negative energy to affect my life.'
Above all, remember that forgiveness is for you - not for the person you need to forgive - something that frees you from the crippling emotional weight of the past and its hurt. In forgiving you really can find the inner harmony that you deserve.
The process of forgiving, of moving from anxiety and hurt to a more peaceful, balanced inner state, requires us to consider what happened. The person or people who have hurt us had reason for what they did, regardless of whether they or we understand those reasons. Perhaps they too, in their own way, have been the victim of others, hurt or damaged by their own particular past. While there may be missing parts and pieces in the puzzle, it is we, and not they, who decide how we choose to respond to what has happened.
Through this process we may arrive at a more profound understanding: though we have been treated unfairly or unkindly, it is now firmly in the past. And it is there that it needs to remain if we are to move forward with our life in a more balanced, and much freer manner.
Arriving at the place where forgiveness is possible cannot be accomplished immediately. It can take time to work through the pain. Therapy, support groups, or self-help tools can all be immensely helpful. It's perfectly okay to fully realize the true impact of what the person or people did. Anything less is not honoring ourself. It's healthy to get all of it out in the open.
Taking the high road is always the mature, benevolent and sensible thing to do. However, proactively choosing to forgive is different from ignoring the facts. To forgive does not necessarily mean that we forget. The goal of forgiveness is to release yourself from the anger, the harm and the loathing, not to deny what happened.
For anyone who is hurting and filled with rage, perhaps forgiveness really is the key that can unlock those shackles that are keeping you in pain. Learning to forgive may not be easy, but it is one of the most liberating things you can possibly do. Maybe now is the moment to move on from the past and forgive. Your own life awaits you and there is no real need to delay. Begin your journey of forgiveness right now and move ahead a much wiser, more balanced person.
This really is your life, isn't it finally time to live it?
Peter Field is a British therapist and psychotherapist. Please visit his hypnotherapy Birmingham website for more info. Peter's Letting Go of the Past self hypnosis recording is now available.