There is an absolute sense of freedom that comes with forgiveness.
So why do we prefer to hold onto to our resentments?
Often, we try to pretend that things didn’t happen, or we continue to tell ourselves that we’re “over” them or that we have moved on, but those things weigh us down over time.
Holding onto resentments causes endless pain. This is a fact, yet we often still choose to hold a grudge.
Carrying around the heavy weight of past circumstances or words exchanged.
Even holding onto traumas from our childhood because after so long, it just feels normal to us. We begin to live in a state of inner chaos and we start to attract more of the same into our lives.
That pain sits deep in our subconscious. Looming and waiting for the right trigger before they once again bubble to the surface.
Each time they come up and are not looked at and healed, they gain power and strength.
Then one day their power is so great that we will have a physical manifestation of that deep seated pain.
It can come in the way of addiction/alcoholism, mental health issues, sleep disturbance or serious medical problems.
When we hit the metaphorical wall and we are forced to unpack our emotional baggage, it’s best to begin the process of forgiving. It takes time, patience and practice, but it IS possible.
Holding onto anger and resentment can literally destroy us from the inside out.
There are many ways to forgive.
One of my personal favorites is Metta bhavana or loving-kindness meditation. It comes from a Buddhist tradition but can be practiced by anyone regardless of religious affiliation. You can use this as a daily practice of forgiveness.
Sit quietly and close your eyes. First you give love and kindness to yourself and then you give that to others. You can picture a specific person or situation in which you wish to offer forgiveness and focus your energy on compassion and love.
I imagine love to be the color pink, so I will visualize the color pink flowing over me and then others.
The more you practice this, the faster the heaviness of the situation begins to lift.
You have cultivated a genuine practice of active forgiveness and healing.
As you wish these things for others, so it is for yourself as well. This practice is truly magical and I highly recommend giving it a try.
It even works to forgive someone when there is no apology.
My second favorite is the Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness called Ho’oponopono.
This practice has a lot of history (which I won’t go into here), but these four phrases can be said in any order. I often replace “please forgive me” with “I forgive you” when appropriate.
You can even sit and make a list of everything troubling you and go through one by one and say this little prayer.
Close your eyes and picture the person or situation and really send forgiveness and offer understanding.
You may find you need to repeat this process over time, but each time the burden becomes lighter.
There will be a constant need for forgiveness in our lives.
Every day, we will have the opportunity to create a resentment or hold a grudge, but we can always choose to forgive and dismiss.
Life doesn’t feel as heavy if we continue to release the weight of our anger and resentment.
I know for me, it has made me feel a lot more calm overall.
When I was full of inner turmoil, I was attracting more of the same into my life.
When you are full of love and forgiveness, you attract more of that as well (and occasionally more opportunities to be loving or forgiving).
You may find lessons coming into your life that will test your willingness to be forgiving. Keep up your daily practice and I promise you, it will get easier over time.
I’m writing this from the beach in Maui and I’ve been thinking a lot about the last four years that lead me here to this magical island. I feel very grounded here. I have meditated in some of the most amazing places ever!
I have also met so many locals and talked to them about Ho’oponopono. They take forgiveness very seriously here and believe holding grudges can bring their version of bad karma upon them or their families. I think overall, it’s just best to cut the cord of attachment to our resentments.