A topic that will resonate with us all – forgiveness. Cindy Rollins is passionate about both physical fitness and mental wellbeing and shares her thoughts with us on how to overcome the obstacles of being able to forgive.
Forgiveness is a process in which one faces an event of the past, acknowledging the mistake made, and moving on. This is not an overnight process and may vary greatly from person to person. Sometimes we can hold a grudge for years and barriers may still be present, but with proper understanding, forgiveness may be used as a tool to overcome the struggle of forgiving another and bring us some peace.
The Right Time
Not being ready to forgive, is often a major barrier that delays forgiveness. It involves the inner-self finding the true meaning and purpose of the changes that occurred and moving forward can be very difficult as there is a fear that past events will be repeated.
Being ready to face this fear, takes time; we’ve all heard the saying “time heals”. However, we cannot rush the process of forgiveness as time can help re-frame the severity of pain, confusion, and even anger. A new foundation of trust needs to be built throughout the process and recalling the moment of pain can help overcome the fear. By reflecting on the event, and the lessons learned, we can use these lessons to help change our perspective and open ourselves up to the possibility of forgiveness.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
By being mindful, we can acknowledge and accept our feelings about the event we are finding hard to forgive. By becoming more aware of our feelings and accepting those feelings will help the process of forgiveness and paint a clearer picture for us. This may also help to answer the “why?” and place us in a better position for dealing with forgiveness and the associated feelings.
The Past is the Past
This is embracing the fact that past events cannot be undone; it happened and it cannot be changed. By accepting that it happened, and how we felt about it, can bring us peace with the events of the past. Acceptance doesn’t mean we agree with the event(s), acceptance means we accept our own feelings about what happened and are looking to find peace. Acceptance is an important step and once we have taken that step, we are on our way to achieving forgiveness.
Forgiveness in not limited to us ‘being wronged’ in some way by another. It can also apply to ourselves and forgiving oneself. We often limit our behaviour based on a set of rules or values we have set for ourselves. Some of these rules were formed during our childhood and therefore we may not have carefully thought out the ‘event’ or ‘situation’ and thus our view (or judgement) may be unrealistic. This is where self-compassion comes in which I will cover in a moment.
Identify the Hurt
When our feelings are hurt we can feel terrible and thus it can take some time to come to a point where we fully identify and acknowledge those feelings and then are able to forgive the one who caused the hurt. Eventually, as I previously mentioned, we can reach forgiveness.Identifying our hurt, or guilt, is important for our emotional wellbeing. #feelings Click To Tweet
This can also apply when it comes to self-forgiveness. Even though it can be a different situation, identifying our hurt or guilt is important for our emotional wellbeing. We may feel guilty about something we have done; it may be something we did recently or something we did years ago. We can feel terrible or be ‘haunted’ for years when it comes to guilt. This self-judgement is a reaction to a past behaviour and can cause us great suffering. By acknowledging our feelings, identifying the situation as the past and being aware of our expectations, we can then learn to control how we react to these emotional triggers. It’s our reaction to what happened that makes us feel bad, not just the things we feel bad about.
Reflecting on the situation and our feelings and thoughts about it can help us put things into perspective. Another may have done us a terrible wrong or we may feel really guilty about a situation but by reflecting and acknowledging our thoughts, feelings and judgements can greatly help us when we look at the whole picture. We can then reach some peace with the event and when we look back on our progress we come to the realisation that we have achieved something positive. When can then develop a strong positive emotion about what has been accomplished. Embracing this positivity and realizing that we are capable of positively moving forward helps us not dwell on the negativity of the past.
Move Toward Self-love
Last but not the least, is learning to appreciate and love oneself. It is best to maintain a positive mental attitude towards oneself. We need to learn how to show compassion… self-compassion. We can maintain our sense of self-worth by putting ourselves ‘selfishly’ first by practising self-care, maintaining the ‘best friend attitude’ toward ourselves, and speaking to our self with love and kindness.
If you have had difficulty practising self-compassion, seek the help of others who have experience and surround yourself with people who believe in you and support you in your endeavours.
There may be times that we have great regret about something we did in the past, or we are holding a grudge or still finding it hard to forgive another. Some of the causes may be of a simple nature and some much graver but regardless, by acknowledgement, acceptance, and compassion we can move forward on the road to recovery and forgiveness. Most of all, by surrounding ourselves with those who encourage us and bring out the positive in us can make a huge difference. Also, by looking after our physical wellbeing as well as our emotional wellbeing will further enhance our life both physically and mentally as it can provide you with a more positive disposition.