12 Sep 7 Life-Altering Tools for Forgiving Others and Finding Peace
Forgiving Others Ain’t Easy, But Here Is What You Need to Do First!
Today I’m writing about forgiveness as the path to finding peace. But before I jump in, I want to make sure you know:
Forgiveness doesn’t mean allowing ourselves to be abused.
More on that later. Let’s dive in:
Sometimes it feels really good to be pissed off at people. We can get really puffed up and indignant about their blatantly assinine behavior.
We just know we’re a better person than they are. More evolved, intelligent, loveable and sane. Anybody can see that they’re too stubborn, mean, flaky, critical, stupid, crazy, lazy, inconsistent, flatulent at inopportune moments.
But, once we’ve run our target’s name into the ground with anyone who will listen and we’ve come down off that delicious, scornful, martyr-y high —
We have to admit there’s some truth to a slogan attributed to Alchoholics Anonymous:
“Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”
So we find ourselves in the humbling position of needing to forgive to find peace.
But here is where we must be careful.
We might have a little guilt-hangover from spewing our judgments of the offender across the land, so we might get a bucket of pink paint to pour over our hurt and anger so we can leap right to forgiveness.
After all, we want to be “spiritual” and might even feel a bit competitive about our ability to move through issues like Ghandi.
Fact: We are not Ghandi. We aren’t even Oprah.
Forgiving because we think we should won’t work. Forgiving when when we’re not ready can be as perilous as hanging on to our resentment with both fists.
When someone has genuinely injured us — emotionally, physically, sexually — it creates painful emotions. Fear. Anger. Shame. Sadness.
And sometimes these feelings are so overwhelming that we shove them down and cover them up with more manageable emotions like Judgment and Resentment.
Or substances like alcohol, weed, cupcakes, loaves of focaccia.
In order to truly forgive a fellow human being who hurt us, it’s important to:
“Switch the focus from those you’re holding responsible for your inner distress and shift your mental energy to allowing yourself to be with whatever you’re feeling.
“Tell yourself that you are willing to freely experience your emotions without calling them ‘wrong’ or needing to chase them away.”
(Dr. Wayne Dyer aka Jesus)
Bottom line? you have to feel in order to forgive.
So, how do you find your feelings (many of us don’t even know we have them), and release them in a positive way?
Here are some excellent tools.
1. Take a Breathwork class or do it at home yourself. (not a sponsored recommendation)
For 30 minutes lie flat on your back. Breath into your belly through your mouth, then into your chest through your mouth, then exhale through your mouth.
You can make a 30-minute mix with music that expresses what you need to express, or is peaceful in the way you’d like to feel peaceful and listen to it while you’re breathing.
You might notice that your hands and feet clench up and even your face. This is just a reaction to the large amount of oxygen in your bloodstream. It’s perfectly safe.
At the fifteen minute mark, yell as loud as you possibly can for four exhales. At the twenty minute mark, laugh in as silly and loud a manner as you can.
For the last five minutes breath slower, less forcefully.
I love doing this work in a group, because other people’s yells and laughter help me find my own. But it can be just as powerful at home alone.
And if you’re in pain, you will cry. Let yourself. (More on this later).
2. Write write write.
Don’t judge your angry feelings. Just get them down on paper with as many expletives as you need.
I find the word “fuck” works well for me — as an adjective, verb, noun and even a gerund. (Okay, I don’t actually know what a “gerund” is — googling.)
Do this every day as long as the feelings exist. You can even write your offender a furious letter (handwritten), then burn the crap out of it (don’t send it.)
3. Kick some ass.
Not someone’s actual ass. But in a gym or athletic environment.
- Smash a tennis ball against a wall.
- Punch and kick a punching bag or dummy, grunting or yelling as loud as you can.
- Go to the batting cages.
4. Cry Deeply.
We’re not talking about the AT&T commercial tears. We’re talking about the “Ugly Cry.” (Oprah aka Jesus)
Most of us were shushed and hushed when we cried as children. Even by good parents. So we might judge ourselves when we cry.
Find a safe place to cry. Think about the reason you feel hurt and sad and let it rip.
Be as self-indulgent as possible. You deserve to have your feelings and you deserve to release them in a productive manner.
5. Get Therapeutic Help.
This option is for those of us who have trauma in our pasts and need a professional to safely help us navigate our emotions and release them.
6. Don’t numb out.
I already mentioned alcohol and friends. We can also include binge-watching Outlander,buying a bunch of stuff you don’t need and sexual shenanigans.
Feel the feelings first, then enjoy an everything-in-moderation dose of the above.
7. Do NOT attack your offender.
Once you have clarity about how someone has done you wrong you can certainly let them know how their behavior made you feel.
(“When you blew off our plans I felt like you don’t value our friendship.”)
But yelling and screaming at another person can completely backfire — making you feel ashamed of yourself, like you’ve lost credibility and like maybe you deserved the bad behavior that came your way.
Losing your mind with your offender, while a relief initially, can be a self-esteem killer in the end. You might end up needing to not just forgive your offender, but also yourself for not acting in your own best interest.
Finally, after you release your sadness and anger and are ready to contemplate forgiveness, know this:
Forgiveness Doesn’t Mean Leaving Yourself Available To Be Hurt Again By Repeat Offenders.
If a family member molested you as a child, you absolutely never need to see that person again. You might come to forgive them, because people who engage in that kind of behavior have likely also been molested.
But you don’t have to leave yourself open to more harm: even if it’s just self-abandonment at not owning your truth.
You may still need to have boundaries with less traumatic offenders. There are some people who will continue to hurt you over and over again. In this circumstance, it is absolutely right to remove yourself from the person that is hurtful to you.
You can forgive them, understanding that they’ve had some kind of pain or injury in their own life that has made them so destructive. But that doesn’t mean you have to volunteer for more bad treatment.
You can think about them with generosity. You can even wish them well, while having boundaries with them or moving them completely out of your life.
Thanks for reading today and I hope I’ve been of help in some unexpected way. xo S
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