The importance of forgiving others

“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.” Steve Maraboli

So many people battle with forgiveness, we struggle to let go of the injustice we’ve experienced and to deal with the feelings that the person, or situation evoked within us. The sense of being powerless, worthless and not deserving of any respect, is just so strong and we never want to feel that again. There is a fear that if we just let it go and choose forgiveness, we could be hurt again. 

To protect ourselves, we continue to hold on to the hurt, pain and the emotional trauma. All of which has a huge impact on our emotional and physical well being. That person may have hurt us in the moment, but we’re the ones hurting ourselves again and again, by refusing to let go and move on.

For me, forgiveness is not about the other person and making them feel better, forgetting what they did or excusing their actions. It’s deciding that forgiveness is the best option for you, because it reflects who you are as a person, how you want to live your life and how you want to feel. The energy of anger, resentment, disappointment, rejection etc is just so heavy and carrying these around each and every day, will take a toll. So I believe that forgiveness is a much better solution.

That doesn’t mean you have to stay connected in the same way to that person. If it’s appropriate you can even choose to exclude this person from your life moving forward, or perhaps limit the time you see them. Whatever you decide you’re doing this from a place of self-love and what you most need. This is about knowing that how you feel and what you need matters and that you’re willing to put yourself first.

Forgiving is about expressing the highest possible love for yourself, and for reminding you who you want to be in this life – ‘Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world’(A Course In Miracles). Don’t allow others to dim that light, because the world will miss out on so much if you do. We each affect many people throughout our lifetime and I have made a commitment to myself to ensure that these moments and experiences are loving, accepting and inspiring. I don’t want people to feel that my energy is heavy or negative, because I know that this will have an impact on them too, as well as their future choices about spending time with me.

So connect to your own inner truth, do what is necessary and then give yourself permission to heal. Remember the world needs the best possible version of you. 

Depression and anxiety have become far too common in todays society and for many the depression comes from being unable to forgive others for past actions and words. They carry it around like a heavy backpack. When you choose to keep these negative emotions close, you have given your power away. You have given control of your life to something and someone outside of yourself and in every moment you’re being defined by something that happened in the past. There’s a very strong possibility that the person you’re refusing to forgive has moved on with their life. They’ve forgotten what they did and said and in some cases, they don’t even care. These negative emotions only impact you, no one else. It’s your emotional and physically well-being that is affected, not the other persons. So do you really want to give your power away to someone who hurt you?

Personally, I would rather live my best life, become the best me and show them that they have no control over me, or my emotions. 

Another good reason to forgive, is because these emotions impact your energetic vibration and will block abundance from coming into your life. When we hold onto those dense and heavy emotions of anger, bitterness, betrayal, resentment, hurt, humiliation and shame, we can not be fully open to money and abundance. This is when it’s essential to do the deep inner work of forgiving people who have hurt us, betrayed us and let us down, despite it having nothing to do with money. Those emotions must be released. 

Being able to forgive and shed all of those low level emotions is no doubt the aim for us all, but in reality it can be hard, because we’ve often attached so much energy and meaning to what happened.

Let’s take some time now to look at why you may be struggling to forgive someone in your life. Have a look at the following and see if any of these resonate for you:

  • The emotion of anger is very powerful and there is a certain energy to it. For some they use this as a motivation to take action and so they can be reluctant to let it go. There’s a fear that if the anger is not there, they won’t take any more action, their motivation and reason for pushing forward will be gone. You just have to be mindful of the actions that you are taking and whether these are constructive or destructive. For example, I know for me personally, if someone tells me I can’t do something, or doesn’t think I am good enough, I get very cross and go all out to prove them wrong. The anger creates a fire in my belly and I use this as motivation to create and achieve. The difference here is that I am now able to let go of any resentment to the other person very quickly and thank them for the gift. I remember a time when I worked in sales for a year and I hated it! My line manager pulled me aside one day and basically told me I wasn’t doing very well, even though this was only a temporary job while at university, I was only 20 and I had no intention of choosing this as a career, I felt such shame! Even to this day I can hear the words in my head ‘I’ll show you’and over the remaining 9 months of my time there, I generated over £2 million worth of business for the company. The lesson here is that you need to forgive and use the anger in a constructive way – this energy would not have been sustainable. For some people they use the energy of anger to take revenge. It’s the justification they give themselves for retaliating and before you know it, everything has spiralled out of control. The sad thing is that despite all the retaliation, they still feel hurt, let down and disappointed – so was the revenge worth it? I believe it’s important to chose positive action instead.
  • You enjoy and get benefits from being a victim.We looked at this in an earlier module and for some the injustice allows them to stay in victim mode. When you choose to be a victim you think you have a great excuse for not taking action, although in reality the only person you’re kidding is yourself. Not only are you keeping hold of destructive emotions and allowing them to affect you emotionally and physically, you’re also choosing powerlessness. Being a victim also allows you to moan and relive the story over and over, getting plenty of attention as you do so. The trouble is people will get fed up of hearing the same stories over and over, particularly when they are from years ago. If they can’t make you stop re-living all this, they will either choose not to see you, or limit the time they spend with you. You could end up pushing away the very people you want more attention from.
  • By holding onto the anger towards another, you feel as if you have the power in the relationship. All relationships are built on dynamics and we all get used to the roles we play in them. If you have always felt like the underdog, who is continually people pleasing and compromising, then having the other person seek your approval and your forgiveness can be refreshing change. You feel empowered by not giving your forgiveness. The bigger piece here is about reassessing your boundaries and where you’re needs are not being met, because this is what has led to you feeling powerless in the relationship.
  • Anger is always a mask for something deeper, but to reveal that takes vulnerability and courage. Think about the person who is in fact so hurt and sad by the actions of another, yet instead of admitting that, they choose to close their heart off and pretend they’re okay. Anger they can deal with, but the sadness is just too much. To forgive someone, can mean that you actually have to feel into those emotions of sadness and heart ache and they are terrified by what might come up and how out of control they will feel.

Here are some questions to consider: 

  • Who do you need to fully forgive before you can move on freely with your life?
  • What needs to happen before you can forgive them? Remember, you can’t control another, so if you are waiting for an apology or even recognition for what they did and said, you could be waiting a very long time.
  • Can you imagine how you will feel when the negative emotions towards them are no longer there?
  • What small steps could you take immediately?

Try this forgiveness meditation and the EFT script. Both resources will help you to get clarity on exactly what you need to forgive and let go of. They will also support you in the healing process.