Forgiveness is the Gateway to Freedom

“There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.” – Bryant H. McGill

We think that holding a grudge is delivering pain to the one who hurt us, but the truth is that forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves. Yet moving to forgiveness is not always easy. Often the pain runs deep. The person who hurt us may never apologize, so we need to find the path to forgiveness for our own healing. It is a necessary part of life that each of us will experience or need to experience at one point or another. Once we can learn to forgive and let go, then we can truly experience the sense of freedom that is right on the other side of that choice to forgive.

Here are some tips for letting go of hurt.

  1. A wise person once said that “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” It’s not unusual for people to harbor resentment. We feel that holding that grudge is punishment, but it holds us hostage when we play victim. The key is to move from victim to victor by grieving the pain and letting go. You have to feel it and deal with it so you can heal it.
  2. Releasing the pain makes room for healing and expansion. When you hold a spot for pain in your heart, it masks your ability and capacity for beautiful opportunities. If you recognize your ability to be the gatekeeper for your heart, you can let the pain go and let the love back in.
  3. Ho’opponopono is an ancient Hawaiian forgiveness technique. It allows you to free yourself of anything that is not you. It helps you cleanse yourself spiritually, mentally, and physically from this and past lives. It’s a petition to the divine to remove toxic energies and fill the space after them with Itself. This is a technique that I’ve practiced with my clients as a way to help disentangle from the bondage that is created when we are stuck in a state of suffering. 
  1. Fire Ritual. For centuries, fires have been used as a ritual for ceremonies. Fire is the element of transformation. A fire ritual helps you to release the past, negativity, old resentments, hurt, grudges, regrets, or suffering. It can be powerful to write down what is hurting you on a piece of paper and toss it in the fire. As you see the fire consuming the hurt, allow it to lift your spirit knowing that pain is being released. As always, approach this ritual from a place of compassion and gratitude towards yourself, the hurt, and the person or people that are connected with that hurt you are feeling.
  2. Compassion. Hurt people hurt people. Try to see the wounds that the person who hurt you may have had. They may have low self worth. They may have been raised in a broken family and not experienced true love as a child. They may not know how to communicate. We can never truly know the intimate stories of another person’s journey. Their wounds are often projected to the outside world because they have never healed from those experiences.   
  3. Gratitude. Johnny Depp said, “The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.” While we can’t choose our circumstances, we can choose our perspective. Life doesn’t happen to us, it happens for us. Everything that happens is a blessing or a lesson. Choosing to see gratitude in everything changes our whole life experience. Instead of counting your worries, think about all the things you have to be thankful for. One of the simplest things you can do in this moment is pause, connect with your breathing, and think about one thing that you are grateful for and focus on that thought, feeling, and breath for a minute or two and notice how much more ease you feel. 

Lastly, we need to forgive ourselves. Sometimes we are harder on ourselves than anyone else.  Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are. You are magic. You are a gift. You are beautiful. There is no one else in the world that is exactly like you and that makes you a unique and precious gift to the world. 

Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting or excusing the harm done to you or making up with the person who caused the harm. Forgiveness means that you are no longer in bondage with the energy of them vs. you. It is helping you to reclaim your power and be in a more compassionate and gentle relationship with yourself. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life and move forward without attachment or entanglement to the stories of the past. 

Wishing you peace, always and in all ways.