“Holding on to anger is like taking a hot coal with the intention of throwing it at someone else; but you are the one who is getting burned.” -Buddha
What is Forgiveness?
Forgiveness is the most exceptional of qualities that few can master. Most of us find it really hard to forgive others who have mistreated or hurt us, unintentionally or intentionally. However, should we overcome our hatred, jealousy, and anger and overlook someone, we should positively impact our lives. By forgiving, you do kindness to yourself. You allow yourself to go on. You withdraw all negative energy around a repulsive event. Forgiving doesn’t mean to ignore or deny what occurred or to humble yourself. Forgiveness is about allowing all the negative energy and not letting the other person direct your activities. Forgiveness has profound roots and takes an essential place around the world.
How to Forgive
We practice forgiveness when we forgive others and ourselves because our children learn from what we represent. We need to educate and teach our children about forgiveness. But accepting other people is challenging. It is not about forgetting, as the saying would have us believe, but about letting go, about embracing positive sentiments over negative ones.
You can tell your family the stories about times when you’ve hurt others. Take turns following on a time when you each were forgiven. Remember a time when you were hurt by someone else, either intentionally or accidentally. Then discuss whether or not you have forgiven them. If you think you have or you’ve been forgiven, here are some questions to discuss:
- How do you know you’ve been forgiven?
- What did you do to move on and forgive people?
- Why do you think why that person forgave you?
- Do you think the person that you hurt felt better after they forgave you?
- Do you feel felt better or worse after forgiving someone?
- How were you feeling after you were forgiven?
- How did you feel after you forgive someone?
- What is your connection like with the person now?
- What did you learn from the whole situation?
Role-play Understanding and Forgiveness.
Pick a family member to be the forgiver in this activity, and ask them to represent a particular person they blame for something hurtful. Then, stand in the offender’s part: Why might he have done that he did? What sentiments might he have been believing? Encourage the forgiver to see the most comprehensive picture possible and give the offender the advantage of the uncertainty—to imagine the many complicated things the offender might have been working through. Tell everyone that exercising compassion is not the same as justifying bad behavior but that it is merely a method for letting go of anger. Finally, role-play forgiving. What would you respond to the offender? What emotions do you feel like you in the role-play? Try on the facial expressions that you think that you might have when expressing forgiveness. What does your body feel like when you’re considering or expressing forgiveness?
Write a Forgiveness Letter.
Help your children write about when they were hurt in a note that they may or may not send to the person who hurt them. Have them explain how they were impressed by it at the moment and the hurtful or negative feelings they are still undergoing. They can state what they want the offender had done alternatively. Have them end this forgiveness note by expressing forgiveness, understanding, and even compassion if they can gather it.
When we forgive, we become free.
When we’re focused on bitterness towards others or even personally, we won’t be able to hear our soul’s messages. When we let go, we will be able to tune in more deeply.
Forgiveness takes strength because, under our personal story of grief and suffering, we always have the opportunity to reach our wholeness and to tap into our inborn joy and compassion. Eventually, we will release our hearts from the bitter prison, and we will be welcoming to a new way of existing and living that we might only imagine right now.