This past month has been a transformative period for many of my clients. They have continuously work towards healing their past wounds, hurts, and perceived wrong doings. They initiated therapy because they had immense pain that they could not identify but they knew was there. We uncovered, we processed, and this month forgiveness has been given center stage in their process.
Forgiveness is an area where the ego tries to keep one stuck in time, stuck in victim-hood. It wants you to believe, “They did me wrong and I will never forgive them…I can never forgive them…They don’t deserve my forgiveness.” The real story is, “I deserve to let go…I deserve to move on…I deserve peace from the situation…I deserve to be forgiven.”
Our definition of forgiveness may defer but I invite you to view forgiveness as a necessity for your growth and happiness. So, if forgiveness is crucial for our happiness why is it so difficult to cultivate or experience? Because, forgiveness includes experiencing grief and pain.
Forgiveness does not mean that you forget or condone what someone has done to you. Forgiveness acknowledges what was done and how it affected you. In this process, grief and pain can activate our avoidance patterns as we want to ignore or suppress any “negative” emotions. Patterns such as blaming will leave us “stuck” in a lower frequency. Can you recognize your patterns? Do you reach out to people that will justify how you feel (different from acknowledgment)? Or, do you reach out to people that will invite you to gain insight or a deeper understanding of the situation?
Forgiveness does not mean that you need to reconcile or remain in a negative situation. Forgiveness is a decision to overcome the pain and let go of anger, blame, guilt, and shame. It allows you freedom from a personal hell. Forgiveness is a decision to no longer allow an event, person, or memory to hijack your emotional peace.
Forgiveness invites you to develop and practice one of the most powerful virtues; compassion for others and most importantly yourself.
As per Robert Enright’s Forgiveness Process Model, there are Four Phases of Forgiveness:
- The Uncovering Phase- During this phase forgiveness, you will improve your understanding of the injustice and how it has impacted your life.
- The Decision Phase- You will gain a deeper understanding of what forgiveness is, and make a decision to choose or reject forgiveness as an option.
- The Work Phase- You will start to understand the offender in a new way, which will allow more positive feelings toward the offender and yourself.
- The Deepening Phase- You will further decrease the negative emotions associated with the injustice. You may find meaning in the experiences, and recognize ways in which you have grown as a result.
Forgiveness can happen with never hearing an apology. Remember, you don’t need anyone’s permission to forgive and release. That’s YOUR power.
Is it time to invite forgiveness into your life?
With love and gratitude,