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Damon K. Jones

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Forgiveness: A Step-by-Step Plan for Freedom and Power

You may have times when you’ve been hurt or felt angry toward someone close to you. They may have said something that devastated you or performed some behavior without thinking that triggered feelings of frustration and anger. And yet, you still hope to include them in your life.

It’s not easy to let go of an incident that has caused you pain. Forgiving the person that caused that pain is even more challenging. However, forgiveness is a gift you give yourself!

In many cases, the other person might not even care if you forgive them. You forgive others so that you can feel better and enjoy your life again. If the other person benefits, that’s the cherry on top.

Many people walk around hurting inside because they’re still holding on to some incident that hurt them; it becomes a problem when it starts affecting your ability to do what you want or need to do. Not forgiving and moving on can turn into worry. Worry can keep you up at night or leads you to self-soothing with food, alcohol, or drugs; it can harm your health.

Long-term, it’s a domino effect, not fogiving causes worry and worry causes stress and stress can create problems inside your body that you may not even know about. Without honestly coming to terms with yourself, forgiving and moving on with your life, you can develop many chronic illness and disease.

The wisest thing to do is to forgive it is beneficial to your overall health, wellbeing and will give you back the freedom and power in your life.

Give yourself the tremendous gift of forgiveness with these strategies:

1. Understand what forgiveness means. Some people erroneously believe that forgiveness means giving the other person a chance to hurt you again. This isn’t necessarily so. You can forgive someone and decide to never speak to them again.

● Forgiveness means that you’re not going to dwell on the situation anymore. You’ve chosen not to feel bad about it anymore. You’re moving on with your life and letting go of the past.

2. Accept that the past can never be changed. There’s no time machine to undo what has been done. There’s nothing the other person can say that will completely erase what happened. The only way you’ll be okay is to forgive.

3. What do you believe you’re gaining from not forgiving? Are you punishing the other person? Do you think that your anger is the proper response, so you’re simply going to maintain it? What do you gain from holding on to your pain?

● Some people refuse to forgive someone that they never even see anymore. Your hurt and anger have no impact on someone in this situation. They’ve moved on with their lives, and you’re only punishing yourself.

4. Acknowledge your pain. You can’t release the pain that you’re not willing to acknowledge. Sit with your pain and avoid judging it. Just feel it and notice its qualities. Where do you think it is in your body? How would you describe it? Acknowledge and evaluate your pain honestly.

5. Understand the cost of not forgiving. What is it costing you to maintain your feelings of resentment? Is it preventing you from enjoying your life? Are you unable to have another relationship? Is it keeping you up at night? Do you feel angry all day? Withholding forgiveness isn’t free. It costs you in some way.

6. List the benefits of forgiving. All of the costs of not forgiving are erased, but there’s more. There’s peace and freedom. There’s the knowledge that you have control over your emotions. You know that you have choices to change how you feel. What can you do for yourself that’s more beneficial than forgiveness?

7. Forgive. Decide to let it go. Avoid thinking about the matter anymore. When your thoughts drift back to that situation, gently direct them to something else.

8. Learn. What lesson can you take away from the situation? It might be obvious, like “Don’t get involved with someone that has a drug addiction,” or “Never loan money to a friend.” Maybe it’s something subtler. Where there’s pain, there’s usually a lesson to be learned.

Decide to forgive and move on. The pain you’re causing yourself isn’t worth holding onto your angst. Evaluate your resistance to forgiveness by listing the benefits and costs of maintaining that position. You have much to gain by letting go of your pain.

Forgive those who have hurt you, and enjoy your life again!

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