Throughout your life, you will most likely find that you’ll be practicing forgiveness quite often. Maybe even more frequently than you would like. When it comes to relationships and interactions with people, your ability to practice acceptance and patience will dictate much of the happiness and satisfaction you have with your life. Forgiveness is much more a favor we do for ourselves rather than for others.
We must learn to understand that others might care for us, appreciate us, and even love us, but people will not always react and behave in a manner that aligns with care, appreciation, and love. It is even more important to truly realize that people’s actions and reactions typically have nothing to do with you.
But, we are human after all, so it’s normal to fall into conflict and disagreements with others—and get hurt in the process. The true solution—the real remedy to these instances in our lives that will likely occur more and more often as we grow and experience the world—is forgiveness and the ability to genuinely move on, leaving past experiences behind us. This is certainly not an easy task to achieve because as human beings, we are biologically wired to remember past experiences, particularly the most unpleasant ones so that we can protect ourselves from getting hurt again in the future. Clinging on to resentment is, in a sense, a survival instinct. However, our logical brain has to come into play so we can distinguish between real threats that we need to remember versus situations when it is in our best interest to forgive and let go for good.
When you make the decision to forgive, those memories of past emotional injury will remain. You can’t always control thoughts and memories, but you can make the conscious decision to simply acknowledge any animosity or any negative thoughts that come back to you after you have forgiven. Acknowledge this as your survival instincts acting to try to protect you, but then allow your higher self to take over and release those mental barriers that prevent your ability to genuinely forgive. Think of the person you have forgiven and remember their positive traits and good qualities. The hurt you feel is valid, but the steps you’ve taken towards forgiveness will not only allow you to enjoy relationships with those you care for, but it will also provide you freedom from thoughts and feelings that limit you and hold you back from your personal growth and self-development.
Want to learn more about forgiveness? Check out The Gift of Forgiveness: Inspiring Stories from Those Who Have Overcome the Unforgivable by Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt