Sunday, February 27, 2011

Harnessing Forgiveness

Almost all of us have held a grudge against someone at some point in our lives.  I wanted to talk about grudges because I've been hearing several stories from friends about people they are angry with.  Being mad at someone doesn't always mean they are going to be able to receive that anger you are sending, especially if you are not even confronting that person and are miles away.  On top of that, deep down none of us really want to send anger to another, we're simply caught up in our own desires in the moment and any feelings of betrayal can be traced back to childhood issues.  The classic saying is, holding a grudge is like taking poison in hopes that the other person will die.  Holding onto anger puts you in a bad place.  It lowers your ability to feel good and focus on the things that really matter: the well-being of you and others around you.  Grudges are toxic to our minds and bodies. 
So the question is, how do we forgive people?  How do we get over these emotions of hate and disgust that seem to engulf us?  The answer lies in our thought pattern.  What we think about is what we get.  The more we think about how angry someone makes us, the more we analyze the situation and stay in those emotions, the more we are going to stay in that place of discontent.  We need to learn to forgive.  Sometimes forgiveness takes a little time and we have to be prepared for certain things to not happen overnight if we want to function as human beings. 
Here is what I have learned on forgiveness over the years.  First, put the issue aside and take note of the things you are grateful for and write them down.  Second, make a list of what you want, focus on your dream, and write those down in the present tense.  Imagine yourself living in that ideal world that you have written down, and spend some time in this dream, devote at least ten minutes everyday to dream building, and in addition to that, whenever the thoughts about the people or circumstances you are angry with arise, pull yourself away from them with the focus of your dream.  Continue to live this way, focusing on that which you are grateful for and that which is yet to come and little by little those things you were angry with will somehow not matter anymore when they come to mind.  It's kind of like when you have a bad break up with someone, and then you meet someone else and fall in love with him/her.  Once your feelings have shifted over time, your focus shifting to that of love for another rather than the hurt someone caused you, you suddenly are in a place of forgiveness of that previous person, because now the hurt doesn't hurt so bad.  That break up no longer has power over you.  You don't deny it happened, but you are able to look past it with true understanding.

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