Anyone have trouble with their in-laws? Well I have had a run in with one of my sister in-laws. I won’t go into detail, but as a PH.D that preaches forgiveness to my patients, this situation made me think about forgiveness in a completely different way. Every time we go through something, I believe we can learn from it and let it shape us.
It all started four years ago when I said something I shouldn’t. Well had I known it hurt her, I would have asked for forgiveness back then, however, I didn’t know I had done anything wrong. You might think this is a story where she needed to forgive me, and you are right, however, I also had some forgiveness to do. I had to forgive myself and I had to forgive her for not handling it as I would have.
I believe that many people ruin their health by holding bitterness and resentment. I had to practice what I preach and I had to handle this conflict as best I could. So what do I do when someone hurts me? I forgive them.
To actually forgive is hard, because as humans we feel that if we forgive someone they are free, the truth is, when we forgive someone we become the free one. It’s easy for me to tell others to forgive, but when I actually had to do it, for days I felt it was unfair. It feels unfair to us that we get the pain and they get the get out of jail free card.
The truth couldn’t be further, the truth is, when we forgive we are the one who is set free. In addition to letting the pain go with forgiveness, we also allow ourselves to be healthier. Studies show that when we hold the stress of pain we develop diseases in our cells. I think to really forgive we must really know how to forgive.
There have been times in my life that I thought I forgave someone or something, and then a problem arises again and I realized I must have not really forgave them. So how do you really, really, really forgive and take the weight from your shoulders?
Forgiveness does not mean what they done to you was right, alright or that you have to be in a relationship with them. It simply releases the debt they owe to you and FREE’S you from the stress of it.
The dictionary definition of forgive is:
1. To excuse for a fault or an offense; pardon.
2. To renounce anger.
3. To absolve from payment.
There are 3 steps to true forgiveness and really truly letting things go.
1. Make a decision. First before you do anything, you must make a decision that you want to be set free. You must choose to make up your mind that you want to be at peace and that you know that you are the one that it is fair too. You must make the decision for you and not for them. You must come to a decision that this is what you are going to do for you.
2. Let yourself off the hook. One of my hobbies is to fish, if you have ever fished you know when you have a fish on the hook they are powerless. When we haven’t forgiven someone, we become powerless; we let them control our thinking and actions.
We have this thinking that when we don’t forgive, it gives us the control, but we’re wrong. The truth is when you forgive you are actually in control, “of yourself.” When we really forgive we are also able to release the anger so we can live free. Become the powerful one by letting go.
“Forgive,” only means to let go of that person or situation so that it, or they, no longer rob you of precious time. Your mind is no longer on the situation. The people you need to forgive are the ones you keep playing mental dialogues with, you know, those times when you’re driving down the road and discover that for the last three miles you don’t remember anything, because you have been thinking of what you are going to do or say?
Forgiving someone does not mean they didn’t do anything wrong, or that they did not do something really mean to you. Forgiveness does not let them off the hook for anything they have done. It lets you off the hook of having to remember, avoid, and or, resent them. Let the situation fall away from your life and thoughts so you can be free, so you can be off the hook.
3. Cancel the debt. When you forgive for real you must cancel the dues. We spend our lives as a mental banker, we decide who owes us and who we owe. However, you must write paid in full on their bill to you and shred the bill. By this, I mean you must never ever bring up their debt in your thinking or talking again. And if you do think about it, you must remind yourself not to, that this has been forgiven. If something is paid in full it is over, it is done.
These three steps can change your life, practice them to really, really, really forgive others, yourself, and anything you need to. For more information on forgiveness to be happy see www.makinghappyhappen.com.
Cammi Balleck, Ph.D, is a leading Happy Hormone Doctor. She specializes in teaching how to unleash your happy hormones.
***This is a Guest Blog on Love, Life and Relationships: Overcoming Emotional and Child Sexual Abuse.
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Ressurrection Graves is from the Washington DC area and created a term entitled, “Child Sexual Abuse Grooming” which is different legally than “Child Grooming” which is associated with “Child Trafficking”. She is working diligently to “Make Child Sexual Abuse Grooming A Felony”.