Ever heard of the term ‘victim mentality’?
That’s most of us in the wake of many of our plights, especially the ones caused by our fellow human beings. That’s exactly what an ineffective coping mechanism feels like. You have someone to blame for the problem, you remain angry and frustrated and shouting, getting depressed or anxious is a norm.
But there is a simple way out. You can clean the mess you’ve created in your life.
The one answer to clean all this mess is forgiveness.
In another blog post, we discuss why forgiveness is for you and not for the other person. Check out the blog post here:
But in today’s blog post we’ll cover how do you actually forgive people in 6 tried and true steps to forgiving yourself or others to finally move on in life.
One thing that has haunted me to this day is bitterness. I call it a sickness, the one that keeps trapping you in its endless drain. Much to her despise, my grandmother had to go through a separation. While my granddad went on to start a new life, my grandmother was stuck with her bitterness. All because she could never forgive him and move on. It consumed her for the rest of her life, affecting her relationships, her health, and her happiness.
6 Steps to Forgiveness
Step #1 Recognize the cause of your pain and acknowledge it
You first have to accept that your burst outs are not out of the blue. They have a long tail that eventually leads you to the cause of your pain. Go there. Visit it with your true authentic self. Look at things from the perspective of a third person. Take notes of what happened, why did it happen and how did you feel about it.
Be genuine here. Faking anything won’t help. It will only worsen your situation further.
Step #2 Identify pleasurable things that divert you from acknowledging your pain
We have our pleasures to divert us from experiencing our emotions. Things that normally come under the umbrella of over indulgence and that can include eating a lot of fatty foods, comfort eating, watching TV aimlessly, and a lot more.
This can lead to substance abuse, addiction, anxiety, and depression. Which ultimately results in heart diseases, and other fatal diseases. Do you see the chain reaction? How not forgiving can lead us to a very unhealthy lifestyle?
Step #3 Be honest with your feelings and acknowledge your contribution
You have to look in the mirror and be true to yourself. It’s true that no one ever overcomes a fear, resentment, or a loss by avoiding it.
No, it’s not okay to ignore it. No, you are not a superhuman being. You can feel bad, you can feed sad you can have your emotions and you can accept them for what they are.
Next time you hear yourself say, ‘Nah! It doesn’t matter’ or that ‘I don’t care.’ please sit back and analyze your situation. Any emotion you don’t deal with properly doesn’t just go away. It becomes a part of something big. Like an apple tree that keeps growing apples and one day falls down due it the weight.
Step #4 Take Responsibility for your actions
Your actions are yours. No matter how much blame you put on others, in the end, it’s you who is going to suffer. Your situation might not be in your control but you can decide how you respond to any situation in your life. I always tell myself:
Responsibility is Response Ability.
Step #5 Be open to an apology
Not everyone who apologizes to you might be doing it out of full sincerity. So how do you know when an apology is real or not?
People find it very hard to apologize. They either don’t want to accept they were wrong or they have reasons to blame you.
So whenever someone takes the step and seek forgiveness from you, just be open about it. Be open about their apology even when you are not fully accepting of it at the moment.
You might want people to come sit inside your mind and know exactly how you want them to apologize but that might never happen. So accept whatever comes your way, big or small, real or fake.
Step #6 Share your decision
Share your decision with your friends and family once you have finally decided to forgive someone and move on. This is important for two major reasons and you want to be very careful here.
One, when you are suffering your family suffers too. The degree of their suffering is, of course, not the same but it is nonetheless suffering. You want to release the pain for them as well. Let them know you are over the person who did you wrong. This will lessen their burden and set them free.
Another reason why this is important is that you could be having a really good day when one of your friends comes to you and starts talking about the person or even you just forgave. This can ruin your day. We all have our good days and our bad days. Just like we can’t deny the existence of our bad days we should not deny the experience of our good days either. Enjoy them, they are yours to cherish and live life’s beautiful moments in.
You don’t want people to come and discuss your past with you. It’s gone for good. Focus on the now. Know that karma takes its time and sometimes is sloth slow.
In the end, you have a choice of forgiving on not forgiving. Just know that living in a mental prison can be more painful than living in a physical prison. The prisoner might escape from the cage one day but you might never escape your mental prison if you don’t forgive.
The journey to grow and heal is already hard. You can ease your burden if you are loyal to your vision of healing. All you have to do is on all those days that drive you crazy just tell yourself ‘It’s temporary.’
You deserve freedom. Freedom to love again, to heal, to move forward, to find your purpose, and be your true authentic self.
Check out this week’s Podcast on ‘Forgiveness takes time’ with our guest Abigail McNeil as she walks us through these steps in detail.