Forgiveness is responding to lack of love with love.
When we hear inspiring stories of people able to forgive the unthinkable, we wonder how they can go through such hardships and forgive who hurt them.
Those people have a light in their eyes that comes from within and has nothing to do with feelings of hatred, self righteosness or revenge that often seem the natural response for so many of us. Forgiveness seems actually to be a counter-intuitive reaction, but it is only outside our comfort zone that real magic happens.
So the question is why should we forgive?
Life is about change
Recently in my life I have faced some pretty painful circumstances that put me under a lot of stress. That started a vicious circle of continuous ailments that weakened my body and my capability of responding well to the unexpected turns of life. I felt overwhelmed and did not know how to turn the situation around until I realised that the real problem was only in my head. What was holding me back was the way I was dealing with my feelings, not the people that hurt me.
It is human to feel angry, disappointed and sad, but then our life needs to keep moving and finding a way to deal with our emotions in a healthier way becomes vital. Being sad or angry is a choice, and so it is to follow the path to forgiveness.
Martin Luther King once said, “Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude”, and I believe that only by forgiving those who betrayed us we can find peace.
Life is about change and we need to accept that circumstances in our life do change.
1. Put things into perspective
When feeling betrayed and hurt being forgiving can be really tricky because our emotions run so high that often we can become blind to any sense of reality.
A sense of self-righteousness makes our ego do all the talk in our heads until we finally realise that we have spent an incredible amount of time and energy on someone that does not deserve our attention instead of concentrating on who is really important in our life.
The right perspective is that we should be grateful for seeing the truth and having the choice to move on accompanied by people who are worthy of our love and trust.
2. Stop telling the Story
We tell the sad story in our heads over and over again and to whom surrounds us, ruminating over it. We do not realise that rehearsing what happened makes us drown in negativity.
Telling the story does not liberate us, it keeps us tied up to our negative emotions.
Ask yourself what is the lesson to learn and be grateful for it.
Look at the silver lining and things will get better.
3. See the situation from an external eye
Imagine a version of you that is able to forgive and give her life in your head. What is she saying? How is she able to forgive? That will help you see the circumstance from another perspective that is external from you and detached from your feelings. This will lead you to the path of forgiveness.
Rehearsing that new story will also help you asking yourself the right questions. You are wise enough to have already in you the right answers, and next time you will have the resources to make a better judgement.
4. Forgiveness is for you, not for them
Many times I felt that if I forgive a person I justify or give permission to the other person to behave the way they did. Far from reality. Your act of forgiveness does not undo what was done.
Forgiveness is an act of kindness you do for your own benefit, not others’. It is for your peace of mind and no one else’s.
Trust is a completely another story.
5. Your happiness is the best revenge
Nelson Mandela said “resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies”. It does not. It kills you slowly.
The best cure for any resentment you may have is to forgive and live a long happy life. Happiness makes people – that do not love you – mad.
Forgiveness is an act of kindness we do to ourselves to find peace. Life is ever changing, and poses us challenges for us improve, learn to become better people and to contribute to making this world a better place for everybody.
If we practice forgiveness, it will slowly become a beautiful habit that will make our life sweeter whatever the circumstance.
Have a happy life!
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