That’s a good question. I know I’ve felt hurt by others’ actions before. If I tallied all the times I was hurt physically, psychologically, emotionally, spiritually… The list would be very long. I’m sure it’s the same for you.
But what’s the point?
Does it hurt the people who hurt me when I think of the things that happened?
Does it pay them back or get even with them?
Do they even know I’m thinking about it?
To think of injustices I’ve received in the past is like tearing open a healed wound to see if the damage is still there.
And what of the injustices I’ve inflicted on others? When I’ve learned from them, grown from them, become a new man. Does constantly examining them make them go away?
Does it change what happened?
Can anything change the past?
Does it help people I’ve hurt for me to punish myself constantly for something I did in the past when I was a completely different person?
Does it help you if you punish yourself for things you did in the past, when you were a different person?
Does it help those around you?
The past overflows with lessons. When we learn the lesson and grow, it’s time to let it go. Besides, it’s nearly impossible to grow from something you’re unwilling to release.
But let’s get back to why we should forgive.
If something horrible happened to you and you continually think about it, you’re forcing yourself to relive that experience over and over. If you take the same event and you discover the lessons in it, then you can release it. When you release it, you stop reliving it. That’s when you truly heal.
Part of healing is forgiving the person who hurt you.
Understand that the person may never know you forgive them. You can tell them if you want but it’s okay if you don’t. Forgiveness isn’t about going to that person and telling them everything is okay. Maybe it’s not okay. Maybe what they did was horrible beyond compare. Maybe it was life-altering for you or your family.
You should still forgive them because forgiveness isn’t about them.
Forgiveness is about you.
Forgiveness helps you. When you make the choice to forgive, you’re choosing to release hate, fear, loathing, sadness… All the things that tear at you, that bind you in chains of misery.
Forgiveness is refusing to let painful events in your past ruin your present or your future.
What if the person who hurt you did it deliberately, with malicious intent?
“Oh no, I could never forgive them…”
Reframe it. When you choose to hold hatred and anger in your heart, it’s like your allowing that person to continue hurting you. In cases like that, isn’t the best ‘revenge’ to completely let go of what happened so their actions never hurt you again?
We’ve all seen the person who refuses to forgive another. Sometimes it consumes their life. They begin to define themselves by the hatred they hold for the person who hurt them. That’s bad enough. The truly sad thing is that their choice to withhold forgiveness impacts everyone in their life. Their children, friends, family, associates, everyone they interact with feels the hatred, anger, pain that they radiate.
So what do you do? How do you start forgiving?
Understand that their actions weren’t about you. Their actions were and are about them. For whatever reason, the person who hurt you was doing the only behavior they knew to meet some need. I like to think that if the person knew a better way of meeting their needs, they’d do that instead. Again, this in no way justifies their behavior or makes it okay. It helps you understand that what they did was a desperate attempt to meet some deep emotional need.
Ask yourself, “If I were them, why would I do that?” This also helps you understand that their behavior was about them.
Look for the lessons in the event. How could this event improve your life? That might sound strange but everything has some positive in it. When you discover how something about a painful or otherwise damaging event can improve your life, you’re miles closer to releasing it, to healing.
Ho’oponopono is a prayer or meditation that you repeat while thinking of the person who harmed you. It’s worked wonders in my life. You can also use Ho’oponopono while thinking of yourself. How many of us hold anger toward ourselves about some past event that we should or could have handled better?
It works best if you sit quietly, without distractions. Then think of the person who hurt you or that you hold anger toward and repeat mentally; their name I love you. I’m Sorry. Please Forgive me.
If the name of the person who hurt you is Rick, then you’d repeat Rick, I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Do this at least ten times in a row every day for a week. You’ll be amazed at the difference you feel.
But why would you even think forgive me to the person who hurt you?
What you’re really saying is forgive me for holding onto the anger, hatred, hurt… I feel over your actions. When you hold on to those things it’s about you. It’s about your choice to remain in pain. This helps you release those feelings and that helps you heal. Again, this is only something you say in your mind. They’ll never know unless you tell them.
When you chose to use Ho’oponopono on yourself, you use your name. So when I use the method on myself I say, “Roland, I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.” If your name is Sue, you’d say, “Sue, I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.” If you resist the urge to use Ho’oponopono on yourself, then you really must do it!
You might feel weird or silly saying that to yourself but I challenge you to try it anyway. It heals deep wounds. It reduces self-criticism. It fosters patience. It lets you know that you care and love yourself in a healthy way.
Ultimately, the real question is, “What have you got to lose?”
Until next time:
You Are The Master of Your Destiny!
Copyright © 2013 Roland Byrd — All Rights Reserved