The 3 Steps of Forgiveness

Learn how to liberate yourself and truly forgive those who have wronged you in life.

September 29, 2016
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Think about what lessons you could derive from a session of forgiveness, as painful as it might have been. How can these lessons help you grow? Focus on the person who wronged you. What pain or anguish could they have gone through in their life that made them do what they did? 

More: 10 Laws for an Extraordinary Life

Remember that hurt people, hurt people. Those who hurt others are doing it because at some level, at some time, they were hurt, too. Think about how they may have been hurt in their childhood or in recent years. 

The following forgiveness process could take a few minutes. Afterward, you should feel a slightly lesser negative charge toward the person who has wronged you. Repeat the process until you feel comfortable forgiving into love. For a serious offense, this could take hours or days. For a small offense like a minor issue with a coworker, five minutes may be all you need. I learned from this experience that you don't have to ask the other person to forgive you. You just have to forgive them. And that's completely within your control.

More: The 4 States of Human Living

Now, there's something important to distinguish here. "Forgiveness into love" does not mean to simply let go. You still need to protect yourself and take action if need be. Criminal acts, especially, need to be reported to authorities. But the pain of what happened should not eat at you. 

Here's how you can get started: 

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In a notebook or on your computer, make a list of people you feel have wronged you or situations where you've been hurt. They could be recent or from the distant past. This may not be easy to do, especially if you're dealing with a very hurtful or long-standing situation. Be patient with yourself and remember that forgiveness, like happiness, is a trainable skill. In my own life, I have found it well worth the time and effort needed to release anger and hurt from my heart. When you're ready, pick one of the people on the list and start the exercise.

More: The Self-Affirmation Exercises You Should Do Every Day

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Step 1: Set the scene

First, with your eyes closed, for about two minutes or so, feel yourself in that very moment when it happened. Picture the environment. 

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Step 2: Feel the anger and pain

As you see the person who wronged you in front of you, get emotional. Relive the anger and pain. Feel it burn. But don't do this for more than a few minutes. Once you bring up these emotions, move on to the next step. 

More: 3 Ways to Enhance Your Daily Gratitudes

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Step 3: Forgive into love

See that same person in front of you, but instead, feel compassion for him or her. Ask yourself: What did I learn from this? How did this situation make my life better?

Adapted from The Code of the Extraordinary Mind 

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