If you are one of the many people who live with constant stress and anxiety, then forgiveness could be crucial to your health and well-being.
Harboring resentment and anger within can tear apart your life, preventing you from moving forward and leaching joy from your life.
Sometimes we need to work on forgiving others that have done us wrong, but often the most important person you need to forgive is yourself.
Meditation can be a powerful pathway to forgiveness and greater acceptance. As you practice meditation, you will find yourself developing an ability to live more fully in the present moment, learning that even if you can’t change the past, you are able to choose how you live your life right now.
A University of California study in 2008 (Oman et al.) showed that meditation can lower stress and significantly improve forgiveness. Meditation can be learned by anyone and the benefits are immense – even a few minutes a day can start you on your way to lowering your stress and anxiety and opening yourself to living on a deeper and more fulfilling level.
Once you are familiar with the basic techniques of meditation, you might find that adding specific meditation practices in the area of forgiveness may be very beneficial.
2. Try to make it right
“Atonement is the making right, the reestablishing of balance, the restoration of sanity, alleviation of grief and the resumption of life.” — Douglas George-Kanentiio, in the book Beyond Forgiveneness: Reflections on Atonement.
Sometimes you might find that the path to forgiving yourself is blocked by the knowledge that someone has been hurt by your actions. By trying to put things right you can come to a place of deeper healing. Sometimes, it is not possible to right the wrong – the person you have hurt may have died or other circumstances may block your way. In this case, making ‘atonement’ may involve making a donation to a charity, or volunteering to undertake community work. As a way to find how to fully forgive yourself, it is important that some element of personal sacrifice is involved.
3. Give yourself permission – let go of guilt
Ok, so you have meditated and tried to make your wrongs right, but you’re still not sure if you’ve truly learned how to forgive yourself – what do you do now? Well, in the end, you need to make a decision – guilt will hang on to you like a leach if you allow it to. Once you have accepted that you have done something wrong and you have tried in some way to make things right, then you need to sprinkle salt on that leach and say goodbye to the guilt for good. No emotion is more destructive to the self than guilt.
4. Make new relationships
Resentment, guilt and anger can hang around our necks like millstones, weighing us down. For many people guilt can become a deadly trap – the guilt causes the person to feel that they do not deserve to feel joy or otherwise experience life in a positive way. So, once the guilt is gone the final, crucial step to forgiving yourself is to reach out to others and move forward in your life.
Try taking a community class in a hobby you’ve always been interested in, join a sports club, maybe volunteer in your local community. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as it is fun for you and you are forging new friendships and deepening your engagement with your community.
Source: Operation Meditation;