“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.“-Philip Yancey
How To Forgive Anybody
The act of forgiveness is one of the hardest yet most profound actions a human being can take. Often times it requires courage, submission, and a small chunk of our ever-protected ego. However, to live a truly blissful life, we must learn to forgive unconditionally. Obviously this is easier said than done.
Certainly we all have been subject to extreme hurt throughout our life journey. We have been taken advantage of, ridiculed, and had our good hearts put to the test, and because of this we often find it difficult to forgive.
Over the years I unfortunately developed a great deal of resentment towards many people I loved, particularly my brother. For as long as I can remember my brother and I never got along, often fighting, stabbing each other with insults that would make Satan cringe. The fact that my relationship with my brother was such a miserable failure, truly bothered me. I loved him, and he loved me, yet for some reason we could never coexist in a brotherly manner. I wanted so badly to make things right. Every night before I went to bed, I would tell myself “ forgive him“ and everyday our relationship would continue to get worse.
What was I doing wrong? Why did our relationship continue to falter?
The Three Essentials of Forgiveness
1. Forgive Yourself First:
In order to succeed in your path to forgiveness you must first forgive yourself. How can you expect to forgive someone else when you can’t even forgive your own faults and shortcomings? So often we forget this essential first step.
For the longest time, I thought that forgiving my brother would make everything right; I thought that by forgiving him our problems would magically disappear. However, what I did not realize was the solution had nothing to do with my brother, it had to do with me.
You see I didn’t really have a problem with my brother; I had a problem with myself. I was upset with how I didn’t always act with a kind and loving heart. I was upset that despite being the oldest, I still resulted in throwing shallow insults at my brother. I was exposing him in order to cover up my own insecurities.
As I began to forgive myself for my past faults, forgiving my brother slowly became much easier. Simply forgiving myself changed my relationship with my brother virtually overnight. Obviously we still have our moments, but our respect for one other has increased dramatically.
All because I learned to forgive myself.
2. Accept Your Past:
Depending on how much hurt you have suffered in a particular relationship, this can and most likely will, take some time. But with the right attitude anything is possible.
Look you can’t change what has happened to you, you and I both know that, but what you can change is how you look at your past events. I’m not suggesting that you have to recall hurtful periods of time and smile about them, but rather simply acknowledge that they have occurred and move on. In regards to my relationship with my brother, I often had a difficult time accepting the past.
I would go to bed angry, and wake up angry, thus hindering my ability to forgive him. I would blow out of proportion some of the hurtful things he said to me in order to justify my less than admirable actions towards him.
I soon realized however, that if our relationship were to ever exist in a peaceful state, I would first have to accept our past.
3. Choose The Path Of Happiness:
If you choose to forgo the path of forgiveness you are essentially choosing a path of misery. Forgiving can be challenging, but forgiveness is essential in living life to your fullest potential. One of the greatest reasons we are miserable is because we subconsciously believe that suffering is necessary .We amplify the hurt long after the initial act has taken place.
What we fail to realize though, is that suffering is not normal, we choose to suffer. The sad thing is we are naturally made to be happy, but our social conditioning tends to make us believe other wise. We don’t need the latest product to make us happy.
The only thing we need to live a happy life is a happy mind, a mind that can love and forgive.
Who is it that you need to forgive?
What are you waiting for?