Teaching yourself how to forgive


300 dpi Fred Matamoros color illustration of stained-glass image of one hand offering a white rose to another hand. The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.) 2007.

Kathleen Johnson

Learning to forgive is difficult to do. When controversy arises between individuals, there is often an expectation that an apology is owed, or an action needs to take place in order for resolution to be achieved.

However, at times relationships are ended or hurt because that expectation is not met. The need for an apology becomes greater then the need for the relationship itself.

So what if forgiveness and resolution actually has nothing to do with any type of interaction?

The good news and bad news is that forgiveness is an internal job, not an external one. We are responsible for what thoughts we choose to hold onto and let go. Obtaining forgiveness through communicating with another individual is only an illusion.

Our minds create forgiveness when we hear something that we can connect to, such as an apology, yet that feeling of resolution is only created within out own mind. So how can we learn to forgive and let go without relying on another person?

Here are 3 essential steps to creating forgiveness:

1. Let yourself experience the emotion that you are having about the person or situation. Completely immerse yourself in the pain, anger, or disappointment that you are feeling. Tell yourself that it’s ok to have these feelings, no matter what they are.

2. Next, write a letter. Write down all of your feelings and anything you would ever want to say to that person. Be brutal, say everything you have maybe been afraid to say, or afraid to admit to feeling. Statements that are even difficult to admit or think about, write them down several times.

3. Once you feel like you have gotten every emotion and negative feeling out on that page, tell yourself that it is time to let go. As you stand alone in the room, say aloud “I forgive you”. Once this statement has been made, rip the paper up and throw it away.

No matter what the situation is, it is never the person that deserves the forgives, but it is you that deserves to find peace within yourself.