Let’s unload the heavy baggage in our life and repack it with lighter, fluffier things like love, joy, and deeply healing, forgiveness.
What Does Forgiveness Mean?
I recently shared what forgiveness means and how forgiveness helps you.
But let’s retake with a quick example. Picture this: you’re holding onto a big ol’ bag of trash (a.k.a grudges, regrets, and past hurts). Now, wouldn’t life be so much better if you could toss that trash bag and dance away? That’s forgiveness!
It’s for you, not for the person who handed you that bag of trash in the first place.
Unshackle Your Soul: The Incredible Benefits of Forgiveness
A study by the Journal of Behavioral Medicine associated forgiveness with improved mental health outcomes, including reduced depression, anxiety, and stress.
Another study by the Journal of Family Psychology highlights the importance of forgiveness in maintaining healthy relationships.
Therefore, engaging in forgiveness can have positive effects on one’s psychological well-being.
Understanding Forgiveness – Mastering the Art of Letting Go!
1. Forgiveness Lies Within
The very basic thing that we need to be absolutely truly clear about is that letting go has got nothing to do with the person you forgive, nothing at all. It is only linked to us inside.
The only person you have to work with is yourself. You don’t have to physically talk with the person/situation you are forgiving, especially if talking might complicate stuff further, like at a workplace with your boss or in tricky family relationships.
Forgiveness involves looking deep within and changing our perception.
Don’t worry if this sounds hard, we’ll be covering lots of possible ways very soon and you’ll surely find the method(s) that work for you.
2. Little by Little, a Little Becomes a Lot: The Fractional Formula to Forgiveness
Baby steps, just like a toddler wobbling towards a cookie jar. Except here, the cookie is emotional freedom!
Forgive the smaller stuff that doesn’t stick to you too much before proceeding to tackle bigger issues.
Let’s say you’re aiming to forgive an old friend who hurt you. Try to break down the resentment into smaller, digestible pieces.
Maybe first forgive them for that one offhand comment they made in 7th grade. Then move onto forgiving them for not inviting you to their birthday party that one time.
Once you’ve mastered the art of forgiving life‘s minor infractions, you’ll build enough forgiveness muscle to tackle the bigger, gnarlier issues.
Each act of small-scale forgiveness is like watering your garden. Over time, these tiny acts build up, and before you know it, you’re lounging in the shade of your Peace Tree.
3. Forgiveness Begins Right Inside You
We are often our worst critics. Notice your negative self talk. Are you constantly reprimanding yourself for not doing something sooner, or for not saying something right, etc.? Then maybe it’s time to free yourself of this guilt.
It’s really important to set yourself free first so you can release internal hurt and pain.
Imagine your current self as separate from you and talk to your younger version. Start loving yourself instead. Start treating yourself with compassion and tell yourself that you did the best you could at the time.
4. The Anything-Goes Club: The Quirky World of Universal Forgiveness
Forgiveness isn’t just for your annoying ex or that family member who just doesn’t know when to zip it.
Nope, forgiveness is an all-inclusive party. That means your temperamental laptop, the traffic that made you late, and even the existential heaviness of issues like climate change can be forgiven!
Say what now? Forgive climate change? You betcha!
The idea isn’t to minimize the issue, but to relieve the emotional toll it takes on you. It’s like turning off caps lock in a heated online argument.
Does it solve the problem? Nah. Does it make your day a little easier? Heck yes!
The main aim of forgiving is to free up your mental space so that you are not caught up in a negative rigmarole.
After you forgive, you’ll find that emotionally the ‘issue’ won’t bother you as much. That allows you to come up with better solutions and ideas that you wouldn’t have thought of earlier.
The 5-Step Meditation Mambo for Mastering Forgiveness
Ready to boogie into forgiveness? Strap on your dancing shoes—or in this case, your comfy meditation cushion—and let’s do the 5-Step Meditation Mambo!
1. Get into a high-vibration state.
Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and get all zen-like. Use whatever technique works best for you to get into a meditative state, and when you are in a calm state, proceed to the next step.
If you don’t meditate, don’t be disheartened, you can still proceed with this exercise. Start when you’re feeling your best self, like early in the morning, or after a beautiful long walk, or anything else that gets you happy and high vibration.
2. Air out how you felt when you were wronged.
Once you have quietened your mind, think about the circumstance you want to forgive, and lay out all your feelings against it.
Confront your feelings and really feel them—like, really feel them. Let it out, even if it gets messy. It’s like when you’re dancing and you don’t care who’s watching. You’re Beyoncé, and this emotional dance floor is yours.
Let yourself be heard. Voice how you felt when you were wronged. Let all your trapped emotions come out.
If you happen to get out of your meditative or calm state when airing your emotions, it’s ok. Just breathe and get into a calm/meditative state again and before you move onto step 3.
3. Try to think from their point of view.
You’ve unpacked all your emotional luggage, now what?
Try using a metaphorical selfie stick to get a wider view. See where they’re coming from.
It might be that the “villain” in your story is dealing with their own stuff, or maybe they’re just having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
You could think that maybe they were going through a really bad phase, maybe they didn’t even realize that they were harming you, maybe this was the only way they knew, maybe they didn’t know any better…
The reasons you find here need not be true. You’re only finding these reasons so that you can feel better about the past.
Even if an explanation isn’t correct, it can still be helpful. Forgiveness is not for them, it’s for you, remember?
4. Contemplate what you learned from the experience.
All the terrible stuff that happens in our life, it is terrible, but it also makes us grow in the long run.
Think about how this event made you a better person. What things do you know now that you did not know earlier? Have you been surprised by your inner strength? Do you think you are more aware now, and maybe a wiser person?
Acknowledge the good that has come from the situation and pat yourself for how far you’ve come.
5. Let go
Ah, the grand finale, the climax of your forgiveness opera, and nope, there are no fireworks or a fancy ribbon-cutting ceremony, but imagine this: A big, colorful hot air balloon ready for takeoff. You’ve stuffed it with all the emotional cargo you’ve been carrying. Inhale deeply and as you exhale, cut the rope and watch the balloon float away into the vast sky. Just like that, let go.
Connect with your higher presence inside, ask for their support and decide to let go. Wave goodbye and let that balloon go wherever the wind takes it.
10 Zesty Tips for Mastering the Art of Forgiveness
1. The “Frozen” Method: Let It Go
Remember that song that you couldn’t escape from for years? “Let it go, let it go!” Yes, I know it’s been stuck in your head; now let’s use it for something other than annoying your friends. The art of forgiveness starts with letting things go. Take that negative feeling, picture it as a snowball, and just let it roll down the hill. Eventually, it’s going to melt away.
When you find yourself clinging to a grudge, remind yourself that you’re not Elsa and you don’t have to live in an ice palace of your own making. If she can make friends with her past, so can you!
2. The Netflix Binge: Rewind, Play, Move On
Imagine your life is a Netflix series, and you’re stuck re-watching that one painful episode where the main character (you) had a horrible time. It’s like watching “The Red Wedding” episode from Game of Thrones over and over. Painful, right? Instead, watch it once, understand it, learn your lessons, and move on to the next episode.
Your series has so many seasons ahead. Don’t dwell on one episode; there are still plenty of plot twists and high points to come!
3. The Marie Kondo Cleanse: Does This Grudge Spark Joy?
Would Marie Kondo keep a grudge? I doubt it. Ask yourself if holding onto this negativity sparks joy. If it doesn’t (and spoiler alert: it won’t), thank it for whatever lesson it taught you, and chuck it in the metaphorical trash can.
You want to fill your emotional closet with feelings that make you happy, content, and peaceful. If it ain’t doing that, it ain’t worth keeping.
4. The Time-Traveler’s Memoir: Write It Out
Take some time to write down your feelings, almost like you’re penning a memoir. Getting your feelings on paper is like a time-travel journey that lets you visit your past and future selves, telling them it’s going to be okay.
Look back at what you’ve written in a few weeks or months. You’ll probably realize how much you’ve grown, and those emotional vampires that seemed so scary before will look like mere garden gnomes.
5. The Jigsaw Puzzle: See the Bigger Picture
Life is like a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, and that one piece you’re fixated on? It’s just a tiny part of your whole story. Don’t let one moment, one incident, or one person become the focal point of your life’s big picture.
Zoom out, and you’ll realize that every piece, even the not-so-pretty ones, contributes to the creation of who you are. You’re a masterpiece in progress, baby!
6. Write a Letter, But Don’t Send It
Grab a pen and paper and unleash your inner Shakespeare! Write a heartfelt letter to the person you want to forgive. Burn it, shred it, or simply keep it. The letter is just for you, a release valve for all those pent-up feelings.
7. Find Your Forgiveness Mantra
Repeat after me: “I choose peace over bitterness.” There, isn’t that soothing? Mantras are like emotional espresso shots, quick and effective!
8. Try a Life Makeover with Art therapy
Did I mention our transformational Life Makeover program? Expressing yourself through art can be therapeutic and oh-so-satisfying!
Unlock the life you’ve always wanted with Life Makeover’s unique blend of art therapy and mindfulness. Five modules and a heavenly bonus will guide your journey to joy, healing, and growth.
To Wrap It Up…
Forgiveness isn’t an act; it’s a lifestyle. And honey, it looks good on you!
Throw yourself a cosmic high-five and know that each step you’ve taken has led you to a more peaceful, joyous you. Keep leveling up!