The Healing Art of Forgiveness
Healing from our emotional wounds is one of the most important steps of our healing journey. I believe true and complete healing cannot fully take place unless these emotional wounds are acknowledged, dealt with, and released. This article today is dealing with an emotional wound that can be a tough one to discuss and one that most of us are currently dealing with or have dealt with...forgiveness. Please read this today for a helpful process in letting go of unforgiveness and if you are struggling with unforgiveness for others or self forgiveness...
Did you ever hear the quote, “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison yourself and waiting for the other person to die?” What is this powerful quote saying? I believe it means that when we have unforgiveness in our hearts, the anger, resentment, hatred, and bitterness towards another is affecting us much more deeply than whom we have unforgiveness towards.
Our heart and spirit get saturated with this internal poison and our body becomes sick. Unforgiveness prevents us from fully living in the present because we’re always thinking about the past. I read once that a medicine man, known as A Mauian Kahuna, believed that lack of forgiveness is the true cause of illness and the anger, resentment, and hurt is what can cause our immune system to breakdown.
When we forgive someone, it doesn’t mean that we are condoning their behavior or making what they did okay. Instead, it is simply the act of letting go of the poison and ushering in a soothing ointment into the wounded areas so we ourselves can move on and completely heal.
So often, when others do something unkind or hurtful it’s because they are hurting themselves inside. Their unkind words, acts, and actions usually do not have anything to do with us but since they have so much internal pain it exudes over everyone in their path. Can we take the time and acknowledging their pain and circumstances and realize that their actions are coming from a broken spirit and wounded heart?
Another person we may have difficulty forgiving is our self. I have personally struggled with this for as long as I can remember. I can be quick to forgive someone else but when it comes to me, it’s not so easy. It’s so easy for me to console someone else when they’ve made a mistake but when I make a mistake my inner dialogue is full of negative self-talk. Why is it so hard to forgive and forgive ourselves? Why do we expect perfection from others and ourselves and if we mess up, why is it so hard to admit that we’re not perfect and we’re just…human. I certainly do not have all the answers to these difficult questions but I do know that forgiveness and redemption are healing to the core of our very being.
When I think of forgiveness, I think of inner peace and tranquility. The bitterness and resentment of unforgiveness wash away and a flood of redemption and love come pouring back in your heart.
There have been countless times in my own life where I have experienced this liberating feeling of emotions. When someone has let us down or hurt us, it is easy for the anger, bitterness, and resentment to take hold. Choosing to forgive is a healing and freeing experience and the healing benefits are too numerous to mention, but to name a few, they are:
*lower levels of depression and stress
*decreases health issues
*increased healthy immune response
*increased hope and inner peace
*elevated exuberance for life
*increased positive emotions’
*reduced hostility, bitterness, and resentment
*less anxiety and worry
*lowers heart attack risks and improves overall cholesterol
*lowers blood pressure
*improves quality of sleep
When I am in need of forgiving someone I get on my knees and pray and ask God to help to usher in forgiveness and peace and to help me let go of the pain and hurt. I really can’t do it by myself, I need His redemptive love to fill in all the gaps when my own human love is not enough and falling short.
When I need to forgive myself, I also pray for help and also include a prayer that I found many years ago that has helped me so much, not only to forgive myself but to also forgive others. It is a Hawaiian prayer called Ho’oponopono, which means “to make things right.”
This process helps me to visualize the actual process of forgiveness which has been very powerful in my own forgiveness practice. I’d like to share it with you and hope that when you are having difficulty forgiving someone else or yourself that you too can benefit from this prayer.
The Ho’oponopono prayer is the simple process of repeating 4 brief phrases. Here are the 4 phrases and the deeper meaning behind each one:
This is the beginning of the healing process where you are opening your heart to the pain that is present in the situation. When we say we are sorry, we are willing to bear our share of the suffering and not seeking to blame someone else. If you need help saying you’re sorry, ask for divine help and acknowledge that we need support from above and we are not in this alone.
*Please Forgive Me
for forgiveness means that you are desiring to restore harmony and peace and
make things right. It also signifies the willingness to forgive yourself and
everyone else involved in the difficulty.
*I Love You
The offering of your love helps to heal the brokenness inside and strengthens the bond between everyone involved. When this part or any of this process is difficult, I visualize God opening my heart and allowing His love and healing to flow inside, filling up my heart and entire body. Then I imagine this love overflowing from my heart to touch the other person or people involved, reconciling any difficulty between us.
Saying thank you is an expression of gratitude and is an acknowledgement that this opportunity to heal is a gift that you can learn and grow from in your life.
Continue this process until you can see the other person without feeling any negative emotions.
I have used this loving forgiveness process to forgive myself as well. Saying these healing statements to your wounded spirit brings healing to your own heart and soul and can be a beautiful expression of self-love and compassion.
Forgiveness is an art and a powerful healing tool for our spirit, soul, and body. Letting go and releasing the pain, anger, bitterness, and resentment makes room for love, joy, happiness, and freedom.
Is there anyone in your life that you need to forgive? Do you need to forgive yourself for anything? Please take some time to do some inner reflection and if there’s someone you are in need of forgiving; may you practice the art of forgiveness too.
May healing and love fill your hearts!