As a parent, one of the most difficult lessons to teach your kids is how to forgive those that have done them wrong without retribution. It simply doesn’t make logical sense to them. We are telling them not to take revenge on someone for hurting them, but to love their adversary and to let things go. This is harder lesson to get across than sharing.
It is no wonder that we as adults have a hard time to forgive. We want to see justice served and served swiftly. And there it is. I have a hard time letting go of control in most things. Forgiveness is another one I can add to the list. Because forgiveness means you have given up the control of dealing out sentences.
How to forgive
There are more books written on forgiveness than I can even count. Seriously, go to Amazon and type forgiveness in the search bar. I got over 30,000 results. Not to discredit any of those books, but I think forgiveness can be done with one easy step. One easy step that you do over and over again.
In The Slight Edge, Olson says that your philosophy dictates your attitude that dictates your actions. However, we often try to act like someone is forgiven before addressing our philosophy of how we truly feel about someone. In order to forgive someone, we must start with our own personal philosophy. We must be able to ask ourselves whether or not we forgive them, answer honestly, and then move towards our attitude and actions.
So here it is. This is my secret to forgiving someone. Every day, at least once a day, write down what that person did to hurt you. I warn you this can be painful, but it is worth it in the end. After you write down the deed, read it and say aloud, “This act does not define who I am. I am (list a few positive adjectives to describe yourself). I let go of this pain and I will not seek justice for this act as I am not a judge, but a loving and caring person.”
If you believe you are not defined by others’ actions, then you can move forward with who you truly are. When someone wrongs you, they gave you the power to move on. Don’t give it back to them by refusing to let go of the pain.
How do we know when it’s done?
Go look in a mirror.
Seriously, go look in a mirror and think about the person who last did you wrong. Now describe your face. Are you frowning or holding a firm scowl? The mirror doesn’t lie, but we are really good at lying to ourselves. We want to believe we have forgiven a person for their misdeeds, but only your subconscious knows the truth. If you are able to stand there looking at yourself and imagine your adversary in a happy place, then you have forgiven them.
One last note. Forgiving someone has freed you of their bondage. Whatever they did to you has passed and so should the weight. But once that weight is off, you must ensure you have learned your lesson. Forgiving you adversary means that you are released, not necessarily vulnerable. We are designed to learn from our mistakes and the mistakes of others. Basically, don’t let it happen again. Stand strong in love and make decisions to benefit your life.
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