Choosing to forgive someone can be extremely hard. When we are hurt, it stings. It’s painful. It causes deep feelings of bitterness and betrayal. So to be told that you need to forgive someone who hurt you is paramount to a slap in the face. Guess what. Forgiveness isn’t about the other person. When you forgive someone, it removes the anger, the poison and toxins from the hurt from YOUR body. That’s what it does. It doesn’t absolve the other person of their guilt. All it does is remove toxins from YOU! As I’ve mentioned earlier, think of your memories in terms of objects: Happiness = a flower, and Pain/Hurt = a bottle of poison. What you choose to keep with you will have an influence in your life. If you choose the flower, it’s beautiful, it’s fragrant, it’s soft, and it will not harm you. If you choose the bottle of poison, it’s horrible, vile, and will slowly kill you over time.
STAYING ANGRY IS EQUIVALENT TO DRINKING POISON EVERY DAY
When your body experiences anger, you actually produce a chemical called Epinephrine, or the name you probably recognize better is Adrenaline. Your thoughts will actually narrow until that’s all you can focus on – whatever caused that anger. Brain neurotransmitters and hormones are released, which triggers you to be in a fight stance. Your ability to think is now impaired, and it will take time before you can think clearly. This much adrenaline is terrible for you, our bodies weren’t designed to release that in daily doses. Too much adrenaline is poisonous. If you choose to focus on your hurts every day and recall painful memories, you are causing an overabundance of adrenaline in your body.
YOUR BRAIN DOESN’T DIFFERENTIATE
Did you know, when you recall a painful memory, your body will go through the same feelings, and the same reaction as when the event happened? It doesn’t differentiate. It doesn’t know that the event didn’t just happen. When you recall that memory, guess what – your body will react as if it JUST HAPPENED. You will experience the same trauma of emotions all over again. Your body will react the same way it did the first time. Another release of adrenaline, anger, and rage. Guess what – you’re poisoning yourself all over again. I can’t imagine why someone would choose to want to pick up their anger and examine it every day. We need to learn to forgive, and dump out that bottle of poison. Don’t leave it beside your bed. Don’t choose to pick it up every day when you get up. Choose to pick up the flowers instead, (forgiveness) and move on with your life.
FORGIVING IS A MENTAL CHOICE
It’s not about your feelings. It doesn’t matter if you are justified in your anger. Think of it as in terms of YOUR health, and YOUR body. Do you really want to stay sick the rest of your life? Then by all means, choose to pick up your bottle of poison every day, and take a few glugs as you plot and plan revenge. The sad thing is – your anger now is only going to affect you, not the person who hurt you. So – what is the point? You need to realize this – all of you who are still so angry out there, and refuse to forgive. Forget about them – and worry about YOU! That’s what this is all about. YOU! Healing for YOU! If you want to read more on why you should forgive, click here.
THE FIRST STEP TO FORGIVE SOMEONE
Make the choice right now that you are willing to forgive. You are making decisions with your mind, not your emotions. You are being rational and logical about your reasons to forgive. You are NOT allowing your feelings and emotions to play into it. Don’t rely on them, they are untrustworthy. If we all lived our lives on how we felt, all of us would have killed someone by now. Seriously. Stop allowing your feelings and emotions to rule your head. You are the boss, you are in control, and your brain will do what YOU tell it to do. So – make a decision right now that you WILL forgive, even if you don’t want to. Treat forgiveness like any other important part of your life. You force yourself to get out of bed in the morning and go to work, force yourself to choose to forgive. You have the control – not anyone else.
THE SECOND STEP TO FORGIVE SOMEONE
Say it out loud. Name the person you need to forgive. If you don’t know what to say, repeat the following sentence, but with the name of the person you need to forgive:
“I choose to forgive Donna (or whomever it is) even though I’m still hurt and mad. I am choosing to forgive so that I can heal completely. I am choosing to forgive so I don’t have to pick up the bottle of poison daily. I am choosing to forgive because it sets me free. I am choosing to forgive and let go of the pain I’m carrying, because it’s too heavy for me. Donna, I forgive you, totally and completely for hurting/abusing/lying/ignoring me.”
If you want to be more specific, by all means go ahead. But it’s important that you say these words out loud. Your brain will act on your words. Your brain will believe what you say, so it’s that important that you VERBALLY forgive someone. And when you’re finished, you might not have an angelic moment, but I can assure you that you will feel better. A weight will have been lifted, whether or not you physically feel it. It’s a spiritual release. Trust me, forgiveness is cathartic, it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself.
THE THIRD STEP TO FORGIVE
Yes, there is a third step. You need to retrain your brain to stop thinking about the past. Every time you see someone who hurt you, you could be triggered. Even though you’ve forgiven, you won’t suddenly just forget it ever happened. First of all remind yourself that you have chosen to forgive them. Then say something or think something pleasant about that person. If you can’t think of a good memory, think of something positive you can say about them. Perhaps, “they dress nicely”, or “they have nice eyebrows”. Whenever I felt angry at my ex, I would think, “My ex is very responsible and has always worked so hard at his job.” A positive that had nothing to do with our relationship. And so instead of recalling past pain and hurt, you train your brain to think and say something positive. When you keep doing this, you will no longer have a trigger, or reaction when you see that particular person. You will be able to be polite and not throb with anger. You are reframing how you choose to remember them. This is important. No matter how much someone has hurt us, there is always SOMETHING that you can find to say that is positive about them. It’s just retraining your thoughts, and memories.
THE LAST STEP
Stop talking about it. Stop telling others about what has been done to you. Stop the chatter, stop the memories, this is what is called letting go. You are not letting go if you keep talking about it. The event is over, and it shouldn’t hurt you anymore. If you talk about it, you end up in the vicious cycle of poisoning yourself all over again.
VICTIM NO MORE
You do not need to play the victim. We are all wounded, we all have hurts. Some of us choose to forgive and move on, and some of us choose to wallow in that pain and look for sympathy. Well, stop being a victim. Go back to the paragraphs above, and read through and make the decision to choose to forgive. Your pain can end right now. I’m promising you that it will lessen. It truly will. Forgiveness allows the memory to fade. Don’t get caught up in the “I’ll forgive you, but I will NEVER forget”. Well, obviously. But the act of saying that will keep you in anger. Forgiveness heals, and it takes the pain away, and the memory fades. One wrong comment and adrenaline kicks in, and you are suddenly angry again. Do you really want to be angry twenty years down the road? I hope not. Give up your victim mentality today.
Make a list of those who have offended you, and systematically go through it, and make the choice to forgive them. You can even name what they did. Get it out. Say it out loud. Yell if you want. Allow yourself your feelings. But the bottom line is – you are making the choice to forgive, and once you say the words, “I choose to forgive you Donna (or whomever)” it has power. And then reframe your memories, and don’t allow yourself to think about those events again. Let them go.
FORGIVENESS WORKS – IT HEALS
It truly does. Choose to forgive right now. I choose to forgive all those who have hurt me this past year. I choose to forgive those who have offended me with their Facebook posts. I choose to forgive those who ignore me. I choose to forgive my family for hurting me. I choose happiness and joy, and flowers (forgiveness). I am choosing not to ever pick up a bottle of poison and drink from it.
For inspiration posters to help you on your journey with forgiveness, click here.