Updated: Jan 24
Typically when we think of forgiving someone, we envision them coming to us on their knees, deeply remorseful, delivering words of regret for their actions. We toy with them a bit, just to make sure they’re really sorry, before finally letting them off the hook. And no way we’d ever forgive someone who didn’t come forth with a profound, heartfelt apology. They don’t deserve it. By staying mad we’re punishing them, at least a little bit, right?
Actually, no. Truth is, if you’re not routinely practicing forgiveness, you’re hurting yourself far more than anyone else possibly could.
So let me be clear. What I’m talking about here is spiritual forgiveness. That’s not to say that what the other person did is okay, or even that that person should continue to be in your life. You’re not excusing their behavior, or giving them a free pass. Spiritual forgiveness simply says, I refuse to continue to carry around this destructive anger any more.
Now, anger can be useful when channeled constructively. It’s when we hold on to it that it becomes toxic.
Repressed anger ups your risk of cardiac incidents and strokes, can impair your lungs, compromise your immune system, and causes stress in your body. When we are under prolonged periods of stress, our body responds by producing the hormone cortisol. Excess cortisol can lead to a host of unwanted conditions, including weight gain, trouble sleeping, anxiety and headaches. And if that’s not bad enough, negative emotions carry with them a heavy, dark energy; also known as low vibrational energy. Low vibrational living corresponds with fear, sadness, and a general feeling of being powerless in the world. Daily living becomes a monumental effort.
Ok, so you realize it’s worth it. How do you do it?
Let’s begin by recognizing that you have every right to be upset, and it’s important to honor yourself in that. Anger is also a great teacher. You’re angry because you didn’t like something that happened. When you flip it around you have an opportunity to understand something that is important to you. For example, if you’re upset about the way you were treated in a former relationship, take from the experience how you do want to be treated in future relationships. You’ll have a chance to explore all this in the Forgiveness Release Exercise below.
Ways to Neutralize and Release Anger:
Don’t participate in negative talk.
Recognize that you can’t control what anyone else thinks, says or does.
Go for a walk.
Write in your journal.
Channel to other physical or creative endeavors.
Meditate - see my Guided Meditation- Anger Release
Do the Forgiveness Release exercise below.
FORGIVENESS RELEASE EXERCISE:
Give yourself time and privacy for this exercise. Light a candle, and have either pen and paper or your electronic writing device.
Make a list of all the people you need to forgive. It may include the bully in grammar school who made fun of you at recess, a parent that did not make you feel loved and supported, your ex-spouse who cheated on you; you get the idea. Write down everyone who comes to mind that when you think of them or their actions, you feel angry.
Next, you’re going to move into writing a letter. One letter that encompasses everyone, writing everything you feel. How hurt you are, how betrayed you feel - even write down any vengeful thoughts you have. Don’t worry, you’re going to destroy this letter at the end of the exercise, so don’t hold anything back out of concern someone may one day read what you wrote.
When your letter is complete, go back though your list of people to forgive, and write down for each person any valuable information you learned though the experience. For example, from your former boss who never appreciated you, you may have gained confidence in the quality of your work. It’s a good idea to do this section in your journal so it’s easy to reference in the future.
Now, place one hand on your list, and your other hand on your solar plexus. Your solar plexus is located in your upper stomach, about two inches above your naval. You can do the following release with the list as a whole, with groups or each person individually. Bring each person or group of persons to mind. Feel the impact of your words as you say: “I am sorry I let you hurt me. I forgive you for all you’ve done. Thank you for the lessons I’ve learned from you.” Imagine that person or persons surrounded by light, floating away.
Destroy your letter, and give thanks to yourself for your willingness to step into your power.
Feel free to reach out to me with your questions or comments. CONNECT HERE