The 7 Steps to Forgiveness

The 7 Steps to Forgiveness
Deepak Chopra, M.D.

Forgiveness is very desirable. For those who receive it, the burden of guilt is lifted. For those who give it, resentment and anger can be released, clearing the slate in a relationship and making room for peace.

Despite this, in everyday life forgiveness is not easy to achieve. Let’s see if there is a way to offer genuine forgiveness, especially to those closest to you, because ironically, they are the ones you should forgive first and yet they are often the hardest to deal with.

Key Steps to Forgiveness

Here are the key steps involved:

  1. Feel your emotions and face them directly.
  2. Write down your reasons for not forgiving someone.
  3. Ask yourself how motivated you are to offer forgiveness.
  4. Let go of as much resentment and anger as you can, here and now.
  5. Envision what the future would be like if you do forgive the other person.
  6. Reconnect at a sincere positive level.
  7. Find the place of forgiveness in your own awareness.

Each of these steps clears up a specific obstacle to forgiveness that may be inside you. Let’s see how this works, step by step.

1. Feel Your Emotions and Face Them Directly

Resistance to forgiveness is fueled by emotions. You can rationalize why somebody else did something unforgivable, because deep down you feel angry, resentful, victimized, and hurt. Be honest with your grievance and go to the emotional level where it is rooted. Let the feeling be what it is. The purpose of this step is twofold, because if you confront your feelings, you also have the choice to release them.

Instead of jumping straight to forgiveness, take responsibility for your own emotions. If you can, let go of at least a small portion of your story of how things were supposed to go. Letting go is almost as hard as forgiving, I know. At least say to yourself, “Maybe if I let go of my interpretation of events and what is unfair, I don’t have to be stuck with this feeling.”

2. Write Down Your Reasons for Not Forgiving Someone

This is best done in the form of a letter addressed to the person you feel wronged you. List all your resentments and reasons in detail. Set the letter aside for a day and return to it to add anything else you forgot to say. When you are completely satisfied, put the letter away to consult later. Don’t mail it. Its purpose was to get everything off your chest.

3. Ask Yourself How Motivated You Are to Offer Forgiveness

Before you started this process, you may have had little motivation to forgive the other person. There can be various reasons for this stubbornness, usually including righteous indignation. Now check to see if your resistance to forgiveness is ready to move. But don’t set any expectation on yourself. If you are still mad as hell, if you feel devastated by hurt, or simply consider what was done to you unforgivable, it’s better to …read more
Source: Deepak Chopra  

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