A few weeks ago I wrote about life changing subjects to consider incorporating into ourselves this year in the blog post It is a New Year. The fifth key action step is working on daily forgiveness practices and forgiving yourself and others.
This is a difficult topic even for me. I have my own battles with forgiveness. It is not easy and I continue to keep working on it daily. There are some relationships that may not ever be where I want them to be and forgiveness is a work in progress. It is important to continue being positive and forgiveness will follow. Like the old saying goes “Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness but because you deserve peace.” ~ John Lockwood Huie
How do we forgive when someone has hurt us deeply and we comprehend that they will probably not ever apologize? They may think what they said or did was justified. They may think they did nothing wrong. They may think they have every right to behave in that way. They may be too selfish or self-centered to even realize they hurt you. Or they may have the attitude, just don’t care and going to say whatever they feel without any regards to others feelings. They may have the philosophy “Life is short, so say what you feel” and use it as an excuse to say hurtful things.
Forgiveness maybe even harder, when it is a family member. The holidays and family special occasions are more difficult when these circumstances are in the mix. These gatherings don’t feel joyful, it feels more like sadness, anger, anxiety and overwhelm. Sometimes family members take sides and the hurt keeps hurting. There may be rude intentional remarks towards you or other family members. Conversations move toward your past mistakes instead of encouraging you or a happy to see you. So how do we move past these situations and be able to forgive?
Okay, now let’s talk about some strategies to help deal with moving forward and not letting these occasions open up those old feelings of pain, anger, anxiety or an emotional breakdown and turn them into happy memorable times.
- Listen to happy, soothing, spiritual or religious music when feelings of unforgiveness start to surface within you.
- Think happy thoughts and find something fun to do. A hobby, an art project, a sport activity, go for a walk or run.
- Practice meditation and/or pray of “Letting Go”.
- Use positive affirmations daily as well as before, during and after family gatherings.
- Imagine yourself having a great time at the gathering and you have changed your perception of the unforgiven person as if they are someone you truly liked being around and admire.
- Watch your reactions and triggers when you assume other people’s motives. Become aware of those negative thoughts and/or assumptions, push them away with positive thinking. When there is continual negative thoughts and/or assumptions this will keep you stuck in the past. Thinking with positive thoughts and action steps is a great way towards forgiveness.
- When faced in a situation with the person who engages in being rude and demeaning towards you, calmly excuse yourself from the conversation, walk away and find someone who you like being around to uplift your spirits. Smile and laugh with them to ease the tension or apprehension you may be feeling.
- After the occasion think about only all the good conversations you experienced and any special things that happened. Journal about all these good things that happened and reflect on only them.
Being angry and unforgiving only hurts you. Let go of the unforgiveness inside you and move towards experiencing peace, love, joy and true happiness in life. ~ Patti
Another saying: “I believe that life is short, and there is too much time wasted bearing grudges, and I like to move on”. ~ Sam Taylor-Johnson
What action steps will you do to achieve forgiveness in your life?