How to Forgive

Now that we’ve established What Forgiveness is, Really, let’s talk about how one can move toward accomplishing such a cumbersome task. Once we have realized how beneficial the act of letting someone off the hook can be, what’s next? How do we make movement in the direction of truly letting go of the negative emotions related to the perceived injustice? Conversely, in those instances where we, too, have amends to make, it is important for us to make a path toward forgiveness if we are interested in truly resolving our end of the issue. If not, our ill will toward the other will find ways to come out, sometimes in surprising ways. Obviously, each person deals with frustration, anger, betrayal and such in his or her own unique ways. Here are some thoughts on how to get started and see what works for you.

It can be helpful for us to write down exactly what it is that is irking us about the believed offender, getting out specifically how we view the incident(s) and what has led us to these negative emotions. Take the time to really think on what happened, the way it made you felt in the moment, and perhaps, how those feelings have changed over the span of time since the incident. Writing out what happened and the resulting feelings is often found to be a cleansing experience, even cathartic.

Writing it out places a boundary on the experience, the pain, the anger. It shows us that, even if it took us pages upon pages to express the situation, we now see that there is an end in sight. Once this boundary has been established, many often enjoy a physical “giving away” of the hurt. Tie it to a balloon and set it free, burn it, tear it, give it to a trusted friend to dispose of it. This provides a figurative sort of release of the pain, helping us find steps toward forgiveness.

If none of these work for you, give me a holler and we’ll work on a new idea on How to Forgive.

-MegAnne Duke, LCSW, LCDCi

References from The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, First Printing, 1990

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