Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.-Tony Robbins
Forgiveness is not easy.
Many of us cannot even imagine what it is or how it looks like.
We hold on to hurts or pains without even realizing how strongly it affects us.
It does not serve the other person or us in any way.
It only constricts us and leads to more profound pain and limits.
But when we forgive, we make space for the new.
We become expansive. We become free.
Forgivness is liberation.
In this article, I will share what forgiveness is and the most common types of forgiving: to another person, by another person, to oneself. Then you will find definite steps to take to reach forgiveness.
What is forgiveness?
Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.– Paul Boose
Forgiveness is healing to everyone included.
To start with, I must say that forgiveness is a process.
The deeper the pain is, the longer the process will be.
That is why many people give up on forgiveness before they start to understand it.
Some people hide the pain in the corner of their subconscious, not to deal with it.
But it doesn’t go anywhere. The pain is there even if you cannot see it.
It appears as your habits, limiting believes, traumas.
To forgive is to rewrite all of that.
To take the darkness, empty it and make space for new light in you.
But I think it is even stronger than that. Because when you forgive, you give the other person grace too.
And when you do forgive, it doesn’t mean you should trust the other person immediately.
Forgiveness isn’t approving what happened. It’s choosing to rise above it.– Robin Sharma
It simply means that you are not holding to the hurt of the specific situation.
It is up to you to decide how you will move forward.
After all – Forgiveness is mostly about you.
Even if it is forgiveness from another person to you, it is still about you.
Forgiven or not, you should believe that you deserve it.
You should not feel you are defined by that situation anymore.
Let it go and move on by being a better version of yourself.
Three ways of forgiveness
To another person
Forgiving others can be the hardest or the easiest thing.
The easy part is that it is only up to you.
But it can be very challenging when someone betrays your trust and hurts you deeply.
It becomes even more complicated when we hold on to it for a long time.
Again, we have to remember that forgiveness is healing.
In this case, it can be healing not only to you but also to the other person.
Let me share a story based on true events.
There was a man who killed many girls. Eventually, he was caught. The victims’ families could come to see him before his death sentence—all of them shouting to the killer, cursing him, wishing the worst. The killer didn’t show any emotions and did not even move. What is worst, those families soaked in their own hatred for the man. This led nowhere but more anger to everyone. The last came a father of a daughter. He looked at the killer calmly and said: ”I forgive you”. And the killer busted into tears.
This is the healing power of forgiveness – for the father and the man who did wrong.
It is not easy, but why hold on to the pain, which cannot change anything?
In any situation, what good does it bring you or another to keep the pain?
You might think the other person does not deserve it.
But again, what is it in it for you?
You might think you keep the anger to teach other a lesson.
But what could you learn at this moment?
Sometimes we need some time and to prepare to forgive, to let go and move on.
It is okay.
Like I mention before, it is a process.
Take one step at a time.
And when you are ready, you can finally say these magical words.
“I forgive you.”
Even if you say the words only to yourself.
By another person
Being forgiven by another person is the trickiest.
Because you usually have little to no control over it.
But still, there is something that you might do to ease the pain for yourself or even for others.
Let’s start with relieving the pain for oneself:
Include the intentional and unintentional harm you have caused.
- First of all, you have to take full responsibility for what you have done. Acknowledge and feel the anger, pain, fear, or confusion that motivated your actions and appeared afterwards.
- Understand how other person feels. Try to step into the other person’s shoes – how would you react?
- Learn from your mistakes. This is very important to not repeat the same mistakes in the future.
- Make yourself a promise and change. This is where you will believe that you deserve forgiveness. What is done is done, but now you can let go and move forward as a new – better person.
- Ask for forgiveness. You can do it directly or indirectly. Sometimes you do not even have contact with the person you hurt. You can go through all the steps and in your meditation, keeping the person in mind say these words.
“I ask for your forgiveness.”
“Please forgive me for having caused you harm.”
“I now understand that I was unskillful and that my actions hurt you.”
Even if the person cannot forgive you, deep inside yourself, you have learned the lesson. And the best you can do live up to that lesson, so you are calmer inside.
Reaching forgiveness by another person:
It is a very similar process as the one above.
Here are the steps:
- Take full responsibility – this time, let the other person clearly know that you accept any consequences that will make the other person feel better.
- Show that you understand how he/she feels.
- Show that you are learning to form the mistakes. You can take it further and ask another person how you could learn and what to do.
- Then the most important is to prove that you have truly changed. Let your actions speak.
- Then may come forgiveness. Or if it doesn’t come, still live up to the lessons you have learned and understand another person.
It is important to notice that the approach depends on whether the person is a man or a woman because of different polarities. (If you would like to know more about this please reach out)
Please do not betray the trust with the same mistakes again.
And please! Especially if you are a man, don’t betray a woman’s trust because it is one of the strongest emotions she can feel towards you.
Forgiveness to oneself
Forgiveness to oneself is as equally crucial as including another person.
And it can be equally as hard.
One part is when you are the only one included.
People tend to blame themselves for many things. (And they usually forget to reward themselves.)
The thing to remember here is – you are still only human. You make mistakes.
As long as you take the opportunity to learn, it should be easier to forgive.
Again what will it change to blame yourself?
But there are times when it is much harder to forgive oneself, especially when you made a mistake and deeply hurt the other person.
You can bear your own pain, but how bad does it feel to inflict pain on another?
How can you change that?
How can you turn time back?
Or how can you take some of the other person’s pain to you?
In the end, how can you forgive yourself?
Again – this is a process, and it takes time.
Sometimes you can do all you are capable of for another person.
Sometimes you have to give her some space.
In any way, work on yourself to learn the lesson and live up to it.
Believe with your conscious and subconscious mind that you can forgive yourself now.
Otherwise, even if the other person forgave you, you may still hold onto it.
The path to forgiveness – The path to light
Like I mentioned before, there is a road you must take to forgive fully.
This road you must take yourself and no one else, no matter you are the one who has to forgive or be forgiven.
Many people do not even know what forgiveness means.
That is because they are focusing on the last step from the start.
I will mainly focus on when you are trying to forgive someone else.
But if you are seeking forgiveness, simply change your perspective on it. After all, it is still yourself you have to forgive first.
It all starts with acknowledging the pain that you carry.
It is about noticing how this hurt is affecting your life.
You can answer these questions:
- How holding onto something may affect you?
- When did it happen?
- What was the context of the situation?
- How deep is it? For what period I have to forgive?
The next step is understanding the other person (or self).
Everyone is on their part of the journey.
Everyone has their pains, hurts, struggles, challenges in life.
Try to think about what life events could have led the other person to do so?
- Maybe someone did it to him/her?
- Perhaps the other person does not understand this?
- Maybe he didn’t have the right example to learn?
- Maybe it was just an honest human mistake?
Again, this is just a step, but not complete forgiveness.
This is especially useful in healing childhood traumas towards parents.
It helped me a lot.
I understand that my parents did the best they could in their personal experience. I also learned of their traumatic life events that led to who they are right now. There is no judging or blaming anyone – there is just understanding.
When you understand, you can start to accept it.
Accept that you cannot change the past.
Accept that no one is perfect.
And then accept what the situation has done to you. By this, I mean fully live it and see it as it is.
Accept that it did damage to you.
Do not hide anything, fully embrace it.
It is not easy, but this is a huge step forward.
It is speaking the truth to yourself, and there is no other way to heal.
When you accepted the entire image and see it in front of you, it is time to learn.
One part of learning is to know what forgiveness seems to you.
The other part is: what could this situation teach you?
- Maybe it is not to trust people so quickly? Perhaps you have to feel into them more?
- Perhaps it is not putting any expectations?
- Or if it someone you trusted for such a long time, you learned that that person has changed? Maybe your roads split at this time?
- Or you realize that that person lacks something important himself? Maybe you should show her some more love?
- Perhaps he needs to be pointed out the mistake to learn?
5. Let go
Letting go is almost as powerful as forgiveness.
It is about releasing the pain and realizing that it does not have any more effect on you.
Let go of the:
- Anything connected to what happened
Now you are ready to forgive the person.
Forgiveness is powerful.
You will know when you actually did it.
It can be speaking to the other person. But it can be silent as well.
The other person doesn’t matter. (even in the cases when you are seeking forgiveness)
What matters is that you have found a way to move on.
If you seek forgiveness from another person and want to get back to him, he/she will first feel if you forgave yourself and changed.
You will know that you did all you could to change.
The last step is natural but so very important as well.
Again, the secret ingredient here is time.
A lot of new space now opened up in you.
Please fill it with light now.
As well, you have proven yourself that you are powerful as forgiveness is not for the weak.
And remember that forgiveness can heal the other person too.
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.– Mahatma Gandhi
Forgiveness is liberation.
And it is mostly about you, no matter if someone else is involved.
Because when you forgive, you first free yourself.
And for another person to forgive you, you as well have first to forgive youself.
Forgiveness is always a journey.
And there are three main ways of forgiveness:
- Forgiveness to others.
- Forgiveness from others.
- And forgiveness to oneself.
The path of forgiveness no matter to who can look like this:
- Let go
Have you been able to forgive easily in your life?