The Thing about Forgiveness



You’re reading it everywhere, especially if you’re interested in personal growth: Forgiveness. Forgive everyone, everything, and most of all, yourself. That’s the fashion. That’s the order of the day.

The real truth is: It’s not that easy.

Yes, we can take a deep breath and call forgiveness, and try to feel good. However, every time you need to forgive someone, something bad and unpleasant has happened. And this experience causes anger, sadness and long standing grudges. That’s natural. These feelings are a sign someone didn’t treat you right.

Calling for forgiveness often feels like being asked to condone what happened. If we’re no longer allowed to be angry at someone, maybe that someone wasn’t wrong? And then the whole thing feels like a double wrong: Someone hurt us, we were wronged, and now we’re wrong again if we’re angry about it … that’s a perfect way to grow even more resentment. At the very best, it leads to people stuffing their emotions away and pretending to be fine about their experience. And deep inside, the anger still keeps gnawing away.

That’s not at all what forgiveness is about.

I don’t know who said it first, but I still think this is profound:

Bearing a grudge towards someone is like drinking poison
and hoping the other person will drop dead.

Forgiveness is about you, not about anyone else. It’s about letting go of the anger that only poisons you. It’s about stepping out of what happened and into a new future.

That’s why forgiving starts with a good look at the anger itself. Only acknowledging the anger, sadness, fury or shame will allow it to dissolve. Once you feel that an experience was simply something that happened, something that you learned from – then you can be free of it.

And that’s forgiveness.

Let’s start tapping.

KP: Even though I’m still so angry at xyz for what he or she did to me, I’m okay the way I am and I’m open to the possibility that it’s okay to feel this anger.

Even though I don’t even want to forgive xyz, because he or she hurt me that much, I’m okay the way I am and I’m open to the possibility that I don’t have to condone what they did.

Even though I don’t even want to let go of that anger, because then I’ll just fall for them again, I’m okay the way I am and I’m open to the possibility that I’m smart enough to learn from what happened to me.

IE: I’m so angry!
OE: I’m still furious!
E: I was wronged, and still feel the sting.
UN: And don’t even talk about that stupid forgiveness stuff.
CP: I won’t do it.
CB: I was hurt, and they deserve my anger!
UA: I won’t give up the right to my anger!
AW: No way!
Take a deep breath!

IE: I now allow myself to feel that anger fully.
OE: I allow it to run through me. AAAAARGH!!
E: And that actually feels good. I’ve never allowed myself to feel all that anger …
UN: I thought I had to be a good person
CP: and stuff it all away.
CB: But the anger is there, and now I allow it fully!
UA: I’m so incredibly angry!
AW: And somehow this feels really good. Wow.
Take a deep breath!

IE: I acknowledge my right to be angry.
OE: But somehow, that anger is getting a lot less important.
E: I just want to keep it around, so I won’t forget that lesson I learned the hard way.
UN: I want to remember that lesson. It cost a lot, after all.
CP: That lesson was so painful … maybe I won’t forget it all my life.
CB: Maybe I don’t even need that anger anymore.
UA: Nor all the sadness, shame and any other emotion that came along with it.
AW: Maybe I can just keep the lesson and let go of the rest?
Take a deep breath!

IE: Letting go of all that emotion would feel kinda good.
OE: I now choose to keep the lesson, and let go of all the anger and everything else.
E: What that person did was wrong, no doubt about it.
UN: But maybe I can let it go now.
CP: And just keep the lesson. I’m smart enough to do that.
CB: I allow myself to let go of the anger, and everything else that went with it.
UA: I choose to find peace, letting go of that old grudge.
AW: And that feels much better!
Take a deep breath!

You may have to go through that round a couple of times, and possibly change some of the wording to really make a shift for yourself. That’s fine! The time has come to let go of the poison – and gain the inner peace that comes from doing so. This is what forgiveness is all about. Doesn’t it feel good?

What did you manage to let go?

Image source: F. Möbius

PS: If those abbreviations in the tapping round feel all foreign to you, you can sign up for my free ebook on the right hand side, where it’s all explained. You’ll also get a free subscription of my newsletter with it. (And EFT is wonderful!)

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2 Responses to The Thing about Forgiveness

  1. Cristina says:

    Thank you very much, tappng for forgiveness has helped me alot!

    My best wishes,

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