Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Can you REALLY forgive?...YES!

Forgiveness is about more than just letting go. It’s about healing wounds and wiping away scars. It’s about feeling better—physically and emotionally. It’s about living your life with purpose and truly moving forward. I am READY!!! My goal is to hit 40 resentment-free!! I have a stellar counselor that you may hear me refer to from time to time. (We'll just call them DD.) Anyway, DD says all I have to do is follow these 8 steps by Mary Hayes Grieco:

To complete Step 1, place an empty chair in front of you and visualize the person you are forgiving sitting in it. Say out loud, "I will forgive you now because..." and name the reason you need to forgive the person, and why you are willing to do it. State your will to forgive the person with firmness and conviction.

Step Two: EXPRESS YOUR FEELINGS. In this step, give yourself full permission to feel your pain and say your feelings out loud for about 20 minutes. Imagine the person sitting there. As you look at them, sink your awareness into your body and contact the tension that arises inside you. It may be a feeling of heaviness in your belly or an ache in your heart. Allow these sensations to become stronger. See which words, pictures, or memories are lodged inside you that need to be expressed and in the language of emotion, such as "I am deeply sad that you..." or "I was so humiliated when you..." Take time to cry or vent your anger. Stay with this until you start to feel quiet inside.

Step Three: RELEASE EXPECTATIONS FROM YOUR MIND. In Step 3, distill the things you had been expecting from the person you're forgiving. State each one: "I would have preferred that you had been honest with me." Then acknowledge reality: "But you weren't." Now re-state your will: "And I will not hold onto this anymore." Cancel your expectation with a firm statement: "I release my expectation that you should have been honest with me." Imagine your attachment to your unmet expectation dissolving. When you feel neutral, or there is more quiet and open space inside you, go on to the next expectation in the same way, until you have addressed them all.

Step Four: RESTORE YOUR BOUNDARIES. To complete this step, give the person you're forgiving responsibility for his or her actions and attitudes. Use body language to symbolize giving back the person's "stuff." Firmly state, "I give you full responsibility for all your actions and attitudes." Now reestablish and strengthen your personal space. Visualize a bubble of light around you that protects you. Imagine it is filling with colored light, creating a healthy boundary. Clearly see the other person farther away from you, with your energies now separate.

Step Five: GET YOUR NEEDS MET IN A DIFFERENT WAY. Imagine being completely unattached to the person you are forgiving. With a trusting heart and a receptive mind, open your hands and extend them upward, asking the universe to help you get needs met in a different way. Be willing to have good new experiences in the near future.

Step 6: RECEIVE HEALING ENERGY. The gift of the 8 steps is that we are able to use the first five as preparation to receive grace from a higher level. In this step, bring unconditional love and light down into your personality until you feel peaceful. In this step, sit upright with your eyes closed. Visualize a globe of light hovering above your head. The light is shining with love and healing energy. Imagine that you can open up the top of your head like a skylight so that the light pours into your body, bringing calm, release, and a sense of being loved, valued and comforted.

Step Seven: (This is a tough one for me!) SEND UNCONDITIONAL LOVE TO THE PERSON. Extend your hands in blessing to the person you have forgiven. Imagine a continuous stream of light flowing down to you and out of your hands to the other person. Say out loud, "I send you this higher love, and I release you to be yourself. And I release myself from you." Visualize the two of you, now in your separate distinct spaces.

Step Eight: (Also hard for me.) SEE THE GOOD IN THE PERSON YOU'RE FORGIVING. Think of a few good things about the person you have forgiven, and say them out loud. Maybe your villain has a nice smile or is always prompt. If you can't think of anything, try thinking of something good that the situation brought to you (for example, "I became stronger" or "I learned to be more compassionate"). Remind yourself that this good thing is what you intend to remember and focus on whenever you are reminded of this person or situation in the future.


  1. Thanks for posting something informative that EVERYONE needs! I can tell you that forgiveness came to me after years of anger and bitterness and it was the greatest relief of my life. But, man, step eight is seriously hard! Wish him the best in life, I can. But, find a redeeming quality? I may need 10 more years for that one. : )

  2. I have someone whom I wish I could forgive (I've talked to you about it before) but the truth is I just can't. I don't even want to think of that person ....send love...I just can't imagine.

    I hope one day I am able to yet never want to....

  3. Marcela & Kate - I COMPLETELY understand!! And it makes me feel foolish that I'm struggling with forgiveness when my offenses were small compared to yours. Still though--forgiveness is tough stuff. I keep telling myself I'm gonna take like 3 hours to sit in my office and do these 8 steps--person by person until I feel FREE. But..I'm not ready. :(