This is the sixth practice in a series. The first five are:practice listening and understanding, practice speaking with patience, kindness and respect, practice being cheerful, practice showing appreciation, and practice taking care of yourself.
First of all, please understand that you practice forgiving not for the benefit of the person you are forgiving. It is done for your benefit.
In many ways forgiveness is a selfish act. Your loved ones are going to need to be forgiven many, many times. People are human, and they err – constantly. Don’t let that stop you from enjoying your life. When you forgive, you basically get rid of clutter that doesn’t belong to you in the first place. You may still have hurt feelings. Feelings are not an indicator of whether you have forgiven someone. Also, forgiving someone does not mean you will “trust” them. I would advise you to trust everyone to be human, and to disappoint you at some point. Forgiving simply means that you give up your right to exact revenge for something that has hurt you. Think of it as not having to work for a debt collection agency.
Forgiveness is something we all need to do in order to take our lives back. It is an individual process. Use whatever methods will help you to learn to forgive. Forgiveness is a skill and a decision. It is not a feeling. Practice forgiving as soon as possible. You may need to not forgive for awhile. Don’t forgive before you are ready to forgive, but do forgive as soon as you possibly can. Not forgiving is not going to protect you from future hurt. It really is like getting rid of clutter. You may not be ready to get rid of something right away, and so you just put it in a box and store it somewhere for awhile. As soon as you realize that you are not going to need what is in the box, getting it out of your house makes you feel so much lighter. You are so glad when it has been given away and is no longer your responsibility. It’s like you are done with finals and you can go have a pizza, breathe a sigh of relief and think about the fun stuff you are going to do this summer.