A woman behind a fence, holding onto it. The Power of Forgiveness

The Power of Forgiveness

What is Forgiveness

There are some emotions that cause our lives to be affected to such an extent that we can feel almost paralysed. Resentment, hatred and anger are some of the strongest negative emotions we can hold onto. They cause stress, illness and can lead to serious physical conditions including joint pains and back pains.

Stress is one of the most common ailments that we have in society at the moment, caused by the way we work, the need for material possessions, the fear of failure, the fear of poverty, fear of losing a job or a business venture going under.

The same goes with relationships that are failing or have failed. We blame ourselves or someone else for that failure, unwilling to let go because we feel we are at fault or have been wrong done by.

What happens after something has not worked out can be just as stressful, because we are unwilling to let go of the fact that it failed.

I know it sounds incredible that such emotions can cause us any physical issues, but that is why the word psychosomatic exists and why doctors still give out placebo pills, better known as “sugar pills” (and yes, they do have results).

Forgiveness is when we release negative emotions such as anger, resentment, envy, jealousy, hatred and any other negative emotion we hold against another person or persons. This does not mean that we are going to renew that painful relationship or go and say to that person, “I forgive you for…”, it’s not about facing the person or persons themselves, but about letting go of those negative emotions within you.

Holding unto negative emotions

Have you ever put your hand on a hot piece of metal or picked up anything hot? What did you do as soon as you felt that extreme heat on your skin?

You let it go. You released it. You felt the burning sensation and you knew that if you did not let it go then you would cause yourself damage. So by letting it go it was a protective measure to ensure that you did not continue to harm yourself.

When it comes to causing harm to our body we know what to do to prevent that injury.

But when it comes to our mental well being we don’t react the same way. Infact we do exactly the opposite and hold on to what causes that injury, until it begins to show itself in our bodies or our environment.

Emotions are not just words. They have a power of their own. What we say has an effect on us and on others.

If you were to write your CV or Resume, I doubt you would use any negative words to display your abilities and talents. So why hold unto them in your own mind? Would you get the job you wanted? Do you think you will get the life you want by having those words form a part of your mental CV or Resume?

Of course not. But we do, We hold unto them “for dear life” because sometimes we feel unfairly treated, hard done by or wronged, sometimes more serious than others. And then we hate ourselves for not doing more at the time, not standing up for ourselves, not being stronger.

We turn that anger, resentment all those negative emotions unto ourselves. Self blame.

And that returns those physical symptoms that present themselves in our body and our environment.

Forgive yourself then others

There is a saying that I picked up a few years back – “You can’t give what you haven’t got”. Initially it made sense when I was thinking about giving material things or money. It was later that I became aware of the deeper meaning of this, when it comes to our own feelings and emotions.

Which leads to this question – How can you forgive another if you haven’t forgiven yourself?

I knew a lady, who I was helping, who couldn’t look in a mirror and say to herself “I love you”. She found it difficult and would end up in tears because she didn’t like herself. She is not alone.

Most of us have that same challenge. We look at our bodies, our appearance, we think of something in our past, either something we have done or something done to us, and we dislike ourselves. The person looking back in the mirror is not someone we like. But the person in the mirror is the only person that can judge you. That is the only person that can forgive YOU.

Before we can forgive others we have to forgive ourselves. We cannot give to others something that we do not have ourselves. We can’t sincerely say to another person “I forgive you”, when we can’t even to that to ourselves.

Self worth and self approval are emotions which lack in many peoples lives because they don’t feel worthy, they don’t feel that they can approve of themselves.

You wouldn’t leave poison circulating in your body knowingly. Why let the poisons that infect your mind circulate there? Makes no sense does it.

The act of forgiveness

Louise Hay, in her book “You can heal your life”, tells us to use the affirmation “I approve of myself”. To repeat it daily and hundreds of times daily. To use it every time a negative thought enters our mind. It will feel like a strange thing to tell yourself throughout the day but it eventually gets there and you begin to feel different.

Stand in front of a mirror (what Louise hay called “mirror work”) and say to yourself “I love you”, “I forgive you”, “You are worthy”.

It sounds easier than you think. As you do this, thoughts will come to your mind why you can’t, shouldn’t or don’t want to. Release them by letting them go. That means, you say, “I recognise you and I let you go. I approve of myself. I am worthy”. Try it and see what comes up as you say to yourself, “I approve of myself”. You may be surprised.

To make this happen you must want to make it happen. You must want to create that change in you. If the want is not there it’s unlikely you will succeed (and that goes for anything you want to change in your life).

There has to be a definite decision to make the change. There will be resistance. It will first appear when you begin work on yourself. It will come up again when you begin the work on forgiving others.

Remember that forgiving others is an “inside job”. You are forgiving mentally and releasing the negative emotions that you have held towards the person or persons. It’s not easy when you have held those emotions for a long time.

Just keep in mind that this will release you, mentally, emotionally and physically. It will release the tension you feel, the toxins in your body and the poisons in your mind.

This is not meditation. That’s something else. This is a mindful approach, a conscious effort, in letting go of negative feelings and emotions, and forgiving unequivocally – yourself and others.

Remember, first you must want to do this, otherwise it’s a soulless action.Then you take the decision that you will do this daily and go through it. And always keep in mind that you are the one that will benefit the most; others will benefit as a consequence of who you will become.

Retaining negative emotions is like holding ourselves in an emotional cage, prisoners behind a fence of our own making. Forgiveness sets us free. It’s a belief that your subconscious must accept, so persist until it does.

Begin the process of forgiveness. You’ll be amazed how positive your life becomes.

The act of forgiveness takes place in our own mind. It really has nothing to do with the other person.
Louise Hay

Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.
Nelson Mandela

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
Mahatma Gandhi

Photograph by: Matthew T Rader on Unsplash


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