Forgiveness is the reason that I’ve been able to move on from my past and move past my pain. Forgiveness is freedom from the past.
Your memories and experiences are powerful enough to cause not only emotional pain but also physical pain. When anger, blame, shame, and resentment live in your body it creates an actual toxic environment that goes everywhere with you. I lived in anger, shame, and resentment from being bullied when I was very young. I had allowed them to define me, how I felt about myself, and what I was worthy of having.
When I uncovered that those memories and past hurts that had been buried deep in my subconscious, I worked on forgiveness and releasing them.
I immediately had a huge decrease in my pain levels and an increase in my energy. This is because when you relive the hurts of the past, it takes up a huge part of your energy. And forgiveness doesn’t condone what happened to you, but it sets you free from having to relive the pain and takes away its power. Nothing is too big or too small to forgive.
Start with this simple forgiveness exercise. Repeat this phrase and get curious about what feelings, thoughts, or memories come up for you.
I forgive you. I’m sorry. I love you.
Now, start with a list. Grab some paper, a pen and write down everything you can think of that is a painful memory.
- A lot of people write down memories about their parents, childhood, relationships, and interactions at work.
- Anything cruel that was said to you or pain inflicted upon you.
- Anything in a past relationship that made you angry or sad.
- Anything that a past boss or coworker did that wronged you or you still feel strong emotion around, go through each job, separate it out.
- Anything your friends or family did that made you feel bad about yourself or talked bad behind your back.
- A teacher that embarrassed you or unfairly gave you a bad grade.
Take your list and find a quiet place where you can sit and not be disturbed for 30 minutes to an hour.
Think about each situation. If possible, recall what you felt in that moment, whether it’s anger, shame, embarrassment, fear, rejection, or sadness.
Let the emotion come up then say: I forgive you. I’m sorry. And I love you.
You don’t need to force anything, just let the image fade away and go on to the next thing on your list. You don’t even have to mean it 100%, but the intention is enough of a start. Some people have to do the exercise several times for very powerful memories, but each time it will clear away more anger and resentment. Give it a few days and then look back at your list to see what memories are still there. You may be surprised how you can’t remember some of the memories anymore or how the shame around the memory has faded away.
You will be free of the chains and open to new possibilities. Forgiveness is freedom.
I originally had three full pages of past hurts and anger. When I looked back at my list a few days later, I didn’t feel those same strong emotions. I was completely free of that pain. I now have compassion for people when they call me names or lash out in anger and I don’t take it personally when they point out my flaws. I can understand what they were going through when they hurt me. One month after I did this exercise I actually reconciled a past hurt with a best friend that had happened nearly 8 years ago. She reached out to me and we were able to get dinner and catch up. And you know what? It felt great! It was amazing to no longer be defined by that past hurt and I felt this huge lift off my shoulders.
Do you want to take it one step further? Forgive anyone or anything you have anger towards. Anyone in political power, the bankers, environment polluters, etc. Everywhere you have anger in your life, make a conscious effort to forgive. It will transform your life and bring you incredible freedom.
You deserve to be free.