Most mystics and thought leaders agree that forgiveness is an important part of feeling good on a daily basis, but there are essential steps for the process to be effective and complete. We must spend the appropriate time with each step. This is a journey of transforming hurt into wholeness.
1. Identify and name the offense
The line between forgiveness and bypassing can sometimes overlap. We may move too quickly to forgiveness in order to alleviate uncomfortable sensations that are messages from our mental, spiritual, and emotional bodies. Often, these sensations may arise before hurts have even been identified.
We must name the offense, and in some cases, the offense needs to be spoken. This all-important first step is frequently overlooked in order to keep peace in relationships at a sacrifice of the relationship with ourselves.
2. Feel all the emotions of the offense
We are complex creatures, rarely do we hold one emotion about an experience. We cannot heal what we do not feel. If we move too quickly to forgiveness, unfelt emotions will spill out in other places. Many times onto loved ones that don't deserve it and a cycle of hurt is perpetuated.
We may not know that our spilled hurt is a result of our past or current dampened emotions. Writing down our emotions as well as our fears and resentments can be helpful in uncovering deeper wounds calling out for healing.
2. Fully grieving all the losses
Our hurts will always call out for grieving. This essential step cannot be measured, timed, or compared against another or against our own expectations. Grief follows its own journey.
Crying may be an essential part of grief, although many of us are conditioned as children not to cry. This untruth needs to be grieved as well. Tears are the quickest way for the body to release toxins or toxic thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Tears are a gift.
4. Letting go and finding peace within yourself
Forgiveness is an inside process. Receiving an apology is not always part of the process of forgiveness. And, receiving an apology is not what dictates forgiveness. We must honor all the steps of forgiveness in ourselves and in others. We must let go of all that stands in the way of our peace. When we move through all the steps of forgiveness, we are authentically able to let go and peace is the result.
When we allow ourselves to identify and name our hurt, we are able to move in the direction of feeling all the feelings and grieving fully what has been lost. It is here that we can let go and find peace. Here is how we can arrive at a place of wholeness. In wholeness, we can use the experience to bless our lives and the lives of others.