Liberate Yourself…

Forgiveness, I have come to realize, is one of the hardest decisions to make. We know that letting go of our anger and bitterness is essential for our own well-being, yet more often than not we end up resisting forgiveness. For some reason we associate forgiving with condoning the act and that’s where the problem lies.
Yes, all of us have the right to feel hurt. Forgiveness, however, is not giving up that right. It simply is refusal to dwell on the hurt.
When I choose to forgive someone, I do not tell myself that it’s okay for people to hurt me.  Instead, by forgiving someone I make sure that they no longer hold any power over me.
When we hold a grudge, we let emotions like anger and hurt simmer till they become toxic.  We continue to allow ourselves to be affected by the memory of someone’s hurtful behavior. However, when we decide to forgive, we free ourselves from the hurt.
Forgiveness is not absolving the other person of guilt. It’s a decision that we must take to make our own lives more fulfilling.
This saying “Acceptance is not approval” helped me to have me to experience this tennet.
It’s important to remember this when it comes to forgiving ourselves as well. We are usually harsher onourselves than we are with others. At the ego level it’s hard to accept that we are not always right, fair or good. Yet, in reality it isn’t possible for us to be perfect always.

These unrealistic expectations not only hold us back from forgiving ourselves, but also seeking forgiveness from others.
Often we make half-hearted attempts at seeking forgiveness by using our favorite ‘get out of jail card’—sorry.
Unfortunately, more often than not, ‘sorry’ reflects a superficial apology—one that makes us feel better while still protecting our fragile egos.  It is more of an action rather than a change of being.
Seeking forgiveness is as liberating as forgiving. What we need to accept is that we can’t be good or positive all the time. The moment we start embracing ourselves fully with our flaws, we will no longer view seeking forgiveness as an affront to our egos.
Your Assignment:
Take out at least an hour at a time when you know you won’t be disturbed, for this exercise. Sit down with a pen and paper and list the names of each and every person who has hurt or offended you. If thinking of them, brings up the buried feelings of hurt again, put their name down on paper.
Once you are done, focus on each person, close your eyes and imagine that they are standing in front of you.
If you need to, yell at them.  Tell them all the things that hurt you.  Punch a pillow if you need to and let it OUT!
Once you are ready, you may tell them “I forgive you. I now release all the anger, hurt and resentment, I held against you.” Dwell on the truth of these words and then move on to the next person in the list. You may see each of you bathed in white light.
Once you are done, look within and reflect on how you feel? Do you feel lighter, relieved, or more at peace with yourself?
Even, if you are not able to feel a huge difference the first time you do this, please don’t take this an an opportunity to  judge yourself!  Repeat as necessary.You will still get great benefit from simply taking the first step towards forgiveness.

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