The reason it’s so hard to forgive.
The Bind: To forgive or not to forgive?
The Issue: We’ve all been there. Hurt by something that someone said or didn’t say. And then we carry it…. Forever. Replaying it in our heads over and over. And then feeling the hurt over and over again.
I had a conversation with a client today after a coaching call about forgiveness. She told me it is tough to forgive when someone has hurt me so much. My response to her was – why does it have to be so tough? Does it really have to be a struggle? Or is that simply how you have been taught to deal with it?
Unforgiveness is about holding someone hostage to something they said or did because of how it made us feel. When we hold on to that, like a dog onto a bone, the only person who receives no peace is ourselves. And the truth is that ‘they’ did or said whatever they did or said. You are hurting only because of what you made their words or behavior mean. You made it about you. Period.
“But you don’t understand, Michelle! It was really awful what they did to me!” What if their actions were about them and not about you? We take everything so personally. And we are actually wired that way. Ask yourself this – do you really want to spend all your energy tied up in this? What are the prices you are paying for holding on to resentment and unforgiveness? Try these on – giving your power to the other person, losing your joy, giving up your happiness, closing up so you won’t ever get hurt again. Ugh!
The Fournier Formula
- Shift your perspective. A Course in Miracles explores this concept – that every act or behavior is a call for love, or an expression of love, no matter how unskillful it may be. Think about that. Inside every man and every woman is a little boy or little girl looking for love and approval. When we were children, we threw temper tantrums. As adults, we do the same thing – just differently, with an eye roll, the silent treatment, snippy comments, and (insert your way here!) So what if what that person said or did was simply a call for love? A call for understanding?
- Explore the situation from a place of inquiry and curiosity. Instead of making someone wrong. Take a look at the situation as if you were watching yourself and them in a movie. What do you see that you didn’t see before? This only works if you are willing to let go of someone (them) being wrong and someone (you) being right. Let go of the analysis and the interrogation – insisting on asking someone ‘Why.’ Let go!!!
- Let it Go! “But how?” my client insisted. Simple – decide to let it go! (That’s it for those of you who think it needs to be more difficult).
- Wish them well. So when that person who has wronged you crosses the street of your mind, instead of entertaining that old story all over again, say this instead:
- May you be peaceful
- May you be well
- May you walk in the way that leads to the light
- May all things work together for good for you
- I let you go
- I let go of all discord
- I wish you well.
- All things are clear between us now.
And then, for brownie points – say the above to yourself….. May I be peaceful….Go on! You got this!
- Make sure you forgive yourself! Say what? Yep, you heard me. How about you forgive yourself for being human? And for rejecting your humanity in favor of perfection, which is a whole ‘nother newsletter. (Piss Off Perfect!).
Great advice Michelle. I think it got easier the older I got to understand that better than 50% of the time the other person didn’t even realize they had done something, or not done something that hurt me. Which means I have done/not done the same thing to others inadvertently and I hate the thought of hurting anyone. So I changed my perspective on it all and just forgive. If there is a pattern of hurt I simply try to just distance myself from that person.