Forgiveness Exercise No. 1
This exercise is one that worked for me.
Begin by re-visiting and feeling the wounds in the heart.
Bring your focus into the heart and just feel without any thought. Breathe into the heart space and disconnect from the mind chatter and don’t try to analyse the feelings. The key here is to allow the feelings to reveal the insight that is waiting to be uncovered. The moment you engage with the mind, it will start intellectualising and try to draw a logical conclusion which is not what is wanted. When you stay centred in the heart the insights that arise may surprise you. You will get insights the mind would never have come to. It can be quite surprising how much more healing can be gained by focussing on the heart.
Breathe into the heart just feel. At first you may feel nothing but go deeper into the nothingness. Nothingness is one of the egos methods of distracting you from the raw emotion that is waiting to be discovered.
You may feel a tension, ache or tightness in the heart, again just try to go deeper into it until the raw emotion begins to surface. Most times you will immediately feel an emotion.
When the emotion is revealed do not intellectualise the emotions. Just feel the emotions freely. Shed tears, voice anger, feel indignation, frustration or grief. Feel, express and release the emotions. Use your breath to stay centred in the emotion being released. Keep the outpouring of the emotion till you feel a shift. You may find you go from the initial experience you are processing to other experiences that the mind would not have connected to the experience. It’s like connecting the dots when working with only the emotions and from the heart.
As you release the emotions you may find you body shakes or twitched or you feel compelled to shake your hands. Trust and follow the wisdom of your body, it is releasing the emotional energy blocks from your body.
Just keep going with the release till it feels clear and your heart feels open, loving and light. When you reach this point know you have released an important layer and bask in the feeling of love emanating from your soul. From this point ask yourself if you are ready to forgive from the heart. Feel it in your heart. Don’t worry if you can’t completely forgive but acknowledge your willingness to forgive and wait until the next time you do the process. It may take several sessions of emotional release before you get there. Each layer you released reveals and connects you a little more with your true essence: your soul .
Forgiveness Exercise No. 2
How to use affirmations:
- Mindfully recite the words several times with feeling
- Mindfully write the words several times with feeling
- Repeat the above often through the day and continue daily until the words become a belief.
- Recite affirmations that inspire and motivate you
- Use present tense
- Try creating affirmations in your own words
Below are a selection of forgiveness affirmations by Louise Hay
THE DOOR TO MY HEART OPENS INWARD. I MOVE THROUGH FORGIVENESS TO LOVE.
TODAY I LISTEN TO MY FEELINGS, AND I AM GENTLE WITH MYSELF. I KNOW THAT ALL OF MY FEELINGS ARE MY FRIENDS.
THE PAST IS OVER, SO IT HAS NO POWER NOW. THE THOUGHTS OF THIS MOMENT CREATE MY FUTURE.
I AM READY TO BE HEALED. I AM WILLING TO FORGIVE. ALL IS WELL.
WHEN I MAKE A MISTAKE, I REALIZE THAT IT IS ONLY PART OF THE LEARNING PROCESS.
I MOVE BEYOND FORGIVENESS TO UNDERSTANDING, AND I HAVE COMPASSION FOR ALL.
EACH DAY IS A NEW OPPORTUNITY. YESTERDAY IS OVER AND DONE. TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF MY FUTURE.
I KNOW THAT OLD, NEGATIVE PATTERNS NO LONGER LIMIT ME. I LET THEM GO WITH EASE.
I AM FORGIVING, LOVING, GENTLE, AND KIND, AND I KNOW THAT LIFE LOVES ME.
AS I FORGIVE MYSELF, IT BECOMES EASIER TO FORGIVE OTHERS.
I LOVE AND ACCEPT MY FAMILY MEMBERS EXACTLY AS THEY ARE RIGHT NOW.
I FORGIVE MYSELF FOR NOT BEING PERFECT. I AM LIVING THE VERY BEST WAY I KNOW HOW.
I RETURN TO THE BASICS OF LIFE: FORGIVENESS, COURAGE, GRATITUDE, LOVE, AND HUMOR.
EVERYONE IN MY LIFE HAS SOMETHING TO TEACH ME. WE HAVE A PURPOSE IN BEING TOGETHER.
I FORGIVE EVERYONE IN MY PAST FOR ALL PERCEIVED WRONGS. I RELEASE THEM WITH LOVE.
ALL OF THE CHANGES IN LIFE THAT LIE BEFORE ME ARE POSITIVE ONES. I AM SAFE.
**Please note that while I deeply respect and love Louise Hay I personally find affirmations can be quite challenging.
I prefer to start with affirmations that require less of a stretch to start the process. For example “I choose to begin the process of forgiveness so that I can begin letting go of my past”. This for me is more realistic affirmation to begin this journey of forgiveness.
I feel more comfortable starting with a level 1 affirmation and then working up to a 10. Forgiveness requires authenticity. You need to speak the truth. Saying “all is forgiven” works for some but for many there is a need to work up to affirmations like: “I forgive everyone in my past for all perceived wrongs. I release them with love.” It’s a big ask of someone who is recovering from trauma inflicted on them in cases of child, adolescent or adult victims of sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, acts of violence, witnessing violence. It doesn’t take away from the amazing work of Louise Hay, but for me it’s less confronting to start with something less confronting, less traumatising in itself. “ I am willing to begin a journey of forgiveness of those who have wronged me” or “I am willing to trust and give validation to my feelings”. If you are finding affirmations difficult try starting with an affirmation that is more accessible for you right now with the understanding that it’s a starting point in a sometimes very long journey.
The process might begin with forgiving yourself for being emotionally fragile, for not knowing a better way forward, for behaving like a victim, for letting others re-victimise you, for running away physically, or with alcohol or drugs, for creating a persona to hide who you really are, for isolating yourself and avoiding interacting with people.
We start the journey of forgiveness by examining ourselves. Have an honest conversation with yourself and look at your patterns. Your life will have a pattern of recurring themes. Maybe it’s your relationships, maybe it’s your inability to hold down a job, maybe you practice self harm, maybe you run away from your life when something or someone starts to get too close or any myriad patterns of behaviour hurt people behave.
You must start this journey with self forgiveness, self awareness and self honesty. Once you have a clearer conscious understanding of your own behaviours and consciously work on releasing the electrical charge that these patterns carry, then you can begin a gentle journey to forgiveness. There is no fast tracking this. It’s a journey, sometimes a life long journey. Quick fixes will have some impact but may not endure. This is a journey where there is no destination but a series of refinements, reflections, reevaluations and adjustments to keep you living positively. The road may have many potholes along the way but we must keep following the road and stay on the path. When we do this, we learn about ourselves at a much deeper level. Each pothole we hit reveals something we may have overlooked or not been ready to deal with. The healing occurs in segments. That is the life we need to accept.
Forgivess is near impossible if we don’t start with the inner work. We need to release a good deal of the emotions that get clogged up inside and cause us to over react to normal life events. Unreleased emotions are destructive to our emotional health. When we deal with our emotions, we aren’t as triggered by events in our life big or small and creates space for forgivess and a deeper exploration of self healing.