How Do We Forgive?

How Do We Forgive?

Choosing to forgive people who have hurt us may seem like a monumental task that is easier said than done. We might know it’s important to forgive because we don’t want to hold onto the anger that is poisoning us and making us sick, but how do we go about forgiving? Choosing to forgive others can be especially hard when they are still hurting us, when they are no longer in our lives, or when we have a hard time connecting with them because the conflict feels insurmountable. Here are a few suggestions you can implement in your efforts to forgive.

Compassion

When we hurt others, it is usually because we are in pain ourselves. Can we choose to see the suffering inside the person who hurt us? Pain is something we all share. The people who have hurt us are no exception. Try to remind yourself that their pain is likely what caused them to act in hurtful ways in the first place. When we believe in the interconnectedness of humanity, we know that having compassion for other people’s pain goes a long way in healing the division between us.

Understanding

Along with compassion comes understanding. We can try to understand what caused people to behave in the ways they did. We can try to put ourselves in their shoes. Even if we are convinced we would never do what they did, we can remember that we all have made mistakes and hurt the people we care about. This is a universal truth, and no one is exempt from it. Instead of focusing intently on how they hurt us, we can choose to look at their pain and understand that their pain drove them to do things they might not have done otherwise.

Love

The people we are most hurt by are often the people we love the most. We’re not nearly as affected by the hurtful actions of people with whom we have no connection. While we are working to forgive, can we focus on the love we share rather than the conflict in question? Try to recall happy memories you shared. Conjure up the love you felt. Hold onto that feeling and meditate on it. Yes this person hurt you, and it might still hurt just thinking about it, but can you allow your love to be your primary focus instead?

Directing our energy towards compassion, understanding and love can transform us from the inside out, make it easier to forgive those who’ve wronged us, and bring us a sense of peace.

Forgiveness is an important part of our healing. The staff at Enlightened Solutions has years of experience helping people work through the various issues that come up in recovery. Call (833) 801-LIVE for more information on how we can support you.


Choosing Forgiveness for Our Own Peace of Mind

Choosing Forgiveness for Our Own Peace of Mind

Addiction and mental health issues bring along with them all kinds of other challenges that are connected and related- conflicts, toxic relationships, unhealthy interpersonal dynamics. Because we experience a great deal of inner turmoil, we manifest relationships and experiences that reflect that turmoil back to us and that create even more turmoil. We have all kinds of problems with the people in our lives, and we can find ourselves feeling anger on a regular basis. We hold onto resentment and bitterness. We hold grudges. We have a very hard time letting go of the ways in which people have hurt or offended us. We obsess, fixate, and replay the difficult memories even when we know that causes us more distress. We are consumed with anger.

Forgiving something doesn’t mean we condone it, and forgiving other people doesn’t mean we excuse their behavior. It means we make the choice to be at peace with what happened, rather than continuing to carry it. We often let the painful energy of anger fester within us, sometimes because it feels better to be angry than to be sad, sometimes because anger is our go-to emotional response. We might never have learned how to resolve conflict and instinctively choose anger over reconciliation. Sometimes we hold onto anger for years rather than deal with the anxiety that can come with confrontation. We choose silence, we choose to cut people off, we choose to hate them.

How much lighter and more liberated would we feel if we chose to forgive instead? Choosing forgiveness means we take the bitterness and anger that were festering inside us and replace them with peace. This process brings space to the issues at hand, and in that space we are able to find healthy detachment and release. We’re able to finally let go. We are no longer consumed and tormented by the painful weight of our anger. The constant mental replay of the conflict starts to subside.

All that energy that once went to resentment is freed up to focus on joy and healing. Whether or not we ever reconcile the situation or resolve the conflict, we are giving ourselves love and care when we choose forgiveness. We are prioritizing our inner peace. We are choosing to be happy. As our energy shifts, we manifest more of the same- more relationships and experiences that make us happy. Making the choice to forgive is one of the best things we can do for our mental and emotional wellbeing.

We all need support during the recovery process. At Enlightened Solutions, we offer therapy, mentoring, trauma healing, recovery planning, and more. Call (833) 801-LIVE.


Self- Forgiveness

Self- Forgiveness

A common theme for many addicts and those with mental health problems is the deep shame and guilt we carry, not only because of our past mistakes and wrongdoings, but also from the false beliefs we hold that we aren’t worthy of love and forgiveness. Often when we experience trauma in childhood, we carry within us a persistent sense of inadequacy and unworthiness. We carry our regrets as heavy burdens. We find it increasingly hard to forgive ourselves. We learn over time though, that self-deprecation only adds to our pain, and when we make the important decision to choose happiness and wellness, we know self-forgiveness is a necessary part of our healing.

Being unable to forgive ourselves perpetuates our mental health problems and addictive behaviors. Having self-forgiveness can feel daunting, even impossible, especially when we have been carrying around years of embarrassment, regret, guilt and shame, sometimes for most of our lives. The practice and process of self-forgiveness, and extending unconditional love to ourselves, can be quite liberating and can really help us to heal from our mental and emotional challenges and addictions.

When we are suffering, we tend to be unreasonably hard on ourselves. We beat ourselves up for lacking motivation when we are depressed, we criticize ourselves harshly when we neglect self-care, and we judge ourselves harshly for our mistakes. We forget that we are human, and that none of us is immune to making mistakes or hurting other people. We speak to ourselves in such unkind ways that we both perpetuate and exacerbate our depression, anxiety and addictive behaviors by compounding the deep sense of unworthiness and inadequacy we already felt. When we are down, we want that substance, partner or habit that temporarily makes us feel better, but then the ensuing feelings are often of regret and shame, which makes us want to turn to our drug of choice yet again. We find ourselves in a never-ending cycle of trauma, then avoiding, suppressing, compounding and exacerbating the pain of that trauma.

The inner child within us needs to be told that she is good enough, that her mistakes and regrets don’t undermine her worth, and that she deserves unconditional love. If you believe in a higher power, tell yourself that He/She/it has already forgiven you and that you have permission to forgive yourself. Place your hand on your heart, activating its energetic power, and meditate on forgiveness. Visualize yourself at peace within yourself. Affirm that you are safe, secure, deserving of forgiveness, and unconditionally worthy of love. Radical self-forgiveness allows us to free ourselves from the cycles of self-deprecation that fuel our mental and emotional challenges and addictions.

We listen, and we understand. Many of us have personal experience with recovery. Enlightened Solutions offers therapy, mentoring, and friendship. Call (833) 801-LIVE today.