Gandhi says, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”Now it may be easy to forgive a child for something because they are looked upon as innocent and still learning right from wrong. It also may be easy to forgive minor things, such as someone stepping on your toe accidentally or someone walked out with your pen. But what about the big betrayals? Cheating, lying, stealing, raping…killing? In a study from the Gallup Organization, asking American people about various religious topics in 1988, it was found “that 94% said it was important to forgive, but 85% said they needed some outside help to be able to forgive” (Wikipedia).
Forgiveness is an act of strength. A big part of forgiveness is letting go. It entails letting go of the blame; letting go of the replay of events in your mind; letting go of the need to know why; and as Oprah says, “Letting go of the hope that the past could be any different”. Forgiveness also means letting go of the need for an apology or for the person who hurt you to make amends in some way. Forgiveness is not about the person who hurt you. Forgiveness is all about you.
Forgiveness is freeing. It removes the shackles of the past. Many people misunderstand forgiveness. They think that if they forgive, they are letting the other person off the hook. That is not the case. You are not forgetting what has happened. You are taking responsibility for your life by taking back the power of the past hurt and setting yourself free.
So how do you forgive? It starts by making a choice every day to have a new life experience. Say to yourself every day, “I forgive ________ and I let go of the hurt you caused and the anger I felt. I am now free”. In the beginning, you may not believe yourself when you say these words, but say them anyway until they become true for you.
After you have forgiven the person who hurt you, forgive yourself for giving your power away to your anger and resentment. Say to yourself until you believe it, “I forgive myself for choosing past anger and resentment over moving forward in my present life. I now choose to live in this wonderful moment. Now I choose peace.