Forgiveness is so important but can seem so impossible at times! Every therapist, coach, religious leader, spiritual guide and even Oprah will tell you that gratitude and forgiveness are THE KEYS to self-development, growth and any kind of success. “Forgiveness is the gift you give yourself” they always say. Forgiveness is all about accepting the past, learning the lessons and moving on. The idea is that carrying around frustration, mistakes, disappointment, resentment, regrets and hatred from past events is like trying to climb a ladder with cinder blocks tethered to your ankles.
Most of us understand that concept and yet forgiving someone who has wronged us can be challenging at times. I have an especially hard time with this. If there was such a thing as Emotional Olympics, I would be the Michael Phelps of holding a grudge. These days I am having a hard time forgiving my parents. As I am working on self-development, healing from my divorce and learning to thrive as a single mother, it becomes more and more apparent that all of my issues and pain in my last 30 years of existence are a direct result from mental childhood traumas.
I understand that everyone gets messed up by their parents to varying degrees and I am certain that my sons aren’t going to be trauma free either. I understand that walking around and blaming my parents for all of my problems is just stupid and disempowering. I know that there are many happy and successful people out there that have achieved amazing feats despite growing up in much worse situations than I grew up in. And yet all of this knowledge doesn’t help me forgive. I keep thinking that it would be easier to forgive if the abuse stopped, but the emotional abuse continues at full force.
My feelings are justified but it does me no good living as the victim. It doesn’t matter if our abusers deserve our forgiveness, what matters is that we do whatever it takes thrive.
One of my FAVORITE people in the self-development space (Denice Duffield Thomas- luckybitch.com) always says that when you are trying to accomplish something, “throw everything at it”. If you have just the tiniest smidgen of belief for a tool or technique, use it! So here is my list of 7 Techniques on How to Forgive:
1. Mantras for forgiveness:
- Denise Duffield – Thomas, suggests that you make a list of all of your traumas, sit in a quiet place, visualize each one by one and forgive by repeating this mantra: “I forgive you. I’m sorry and I love you.”
- In the book The Law of Forgiveness, author Connie Domino also suggests making a list of people to forgive. Visualize each one and recite the following mantra: “I forgive you completely and freely, I release you and let you go. So far as I’m concerned, the incident that happened between us is finished forever. I wish the best for you. I wish for you your highest good. I hold you in the light. I am free and you are free, and all again is well between us. Peace be with you.”
It’s easier to convince yourself to forgive when you understand that the person who hurt you is really messed up. There is no excuse for abuse! (I totally, didn’t mean to make that rhyme.) But I find it easier to forgive when you understand that you are dealing with someone who is mentally ill to some degree.
My beloved grandmother had pretty advanced stage Alzheimer’s by the time I was in college. She would ask me multiple times during each visit what I was studying at school. My answer elicited a response consisting of a grunt and nasty wave followed by her spitting in my direction. This woman practically raised me and was the only adult in my life that loved me just for existing and yet I never felt resentful of her responses. This is because I knew she was mentally ill and not really all there.
I also don’t take my toddler seriously when he says “mama LEAVE” and does other “hurtful” things because I understand were his emotional intelligence level is at.
3. Re-frame the Transgressor:
Sometimes we are so laser focused on the negatives of a person or a situation that we all we can feel is anger and hate which attracts even more negativity. Creating a gratitude list is the quickest way to turn around those icky feelings of hate and drowning. I found that making a list of positive things about the person I want to forgive, helps me tap into a more forgiving state of mind.
4. Tapping for Forgiveness:
Emotional Freedom Technique ( EFT) or Tapping, as its sometime called, is a method for healing the body via releasing un-serving beliefs and negative emotions by tapping on specific energy meridians (same as those used in traditional acupuncture).
There are tons of EFT practitioners offering explanations of the process and free guided tapping videos on YouTube. My favorite EFT practitioner is Brad Yates. I really resonate with his scripts.
Here is Brad’s quick explanation of EFT:
Here is Brad’s video on Tapping for Forgiveness:
5. Gemstones and Crystals for Forgiveness:
Crystals “…generate, store, regulate, transmit and transform energy. Putting out ‘good vibes’ they harmonize the atmosphere, or your body. Taking in energy, they cleanse the environment and your aura, and provide protection.” (Judy Hall, author of million copy seller Crystal Bible). The idea is that just like everything else in this universe, the human body is made out of energy. Our energy can get blocked and become negative. Gemstones carry stable energy that can be used as a tuning fork for various issues we are having that are caused by energy blocks.
When I first started working with my energy healer, she gave me specific instructions for finding and cleaning a Rose Quarts stone which I was to carry close to my heart (in the left side of my braw). I still carry this stone with me to aid in healing childhood traumas, forgiveness and healing my throat and hart chakras.
One of my favorite forgiveness rituals using my Rose Quarts is to lay the crystal over my heart chakra and feel the forgiving and healing energy from the stone. Once I feel the energy, I visualize the person/ situation I want to forgive and recite Connie Domino’s mantra from above.
If this forgiveness method is of interest to you, please consult the following resource prior to purchasing a crystal: http://www.judyhall.co.uk/crystal-basics-extract. You want to make sure to choose the right crystals for you and clear them of any negative energy they may have picked up.
A study done at Florida State University found that participants who prayed to any higher power about the well-being of the person they wanted to forgive, were significantly more willing to forgive the transgressor.
I have noticed that I’ve had a much easier time forgiving my ex. Once I read details on the study I understood that this forgiveness came to me with more ease because I pray from my ex’s well-being quite regularly. I don’t pray for my parents at all.
7. Guided Meditation for Forgiveness:
185,000 YouTube search results come up for “forgiveness guided meditation”. My personal favorites are:
Healing Meditation of Forgiveness with Doreen Virtue:
Guided Meditation on Forgiveness with Deepak Chopra: