How I Can Forgive Others and Practice Gratitude in my Life!
My spiritual path began over 35 years ago when I first got clean and forgiveness is the road to freedom. Pain, resentment, shame, and anger can hold us for our entire lives if we ne
ver take the time to dive in and find compassion for ourselves and those who have hurt us.
The tricky thing about resentment is that it isn’t about the other person at all. In fact, the person you resent may not even know you resent them! But because you hold onto the stories from the past about people who have done you wrong, you keep an energetic tie to them.
Healing your past hurts begins when you look at your life with radical honesty. You have to take inventory of all of the places where you feel you were hurt, victimized, or taken advantage of and be willing to see your own part in them.
Once you get this clarity, the true healing work can begin. You’ll realize that the reason you should forgive others is so YOU can be free. Until you can take full responsibility for your role in things, forgive yourself for your part, and see that by holding onto resentment, you’re only hurting yourself – you cannot be free.
You become free when you reach a point where you can feel genuine gratitude for the things that happened in the past (yes, even the most painful ones) because of the way they allowed you to grow into the person you are and deepen your compassion for yourself and others.
My journey to forgiveness
The first thing I was taught in my recovery was that I couldn’t hold onto resentments about other people if I wanted to be free and fully recover.
Of course, at the time, I had a laundry list of people who had done me wrong. And I was confused at first when they told me I couldn’t get well until I faced those hurts and chose to forgive. I had to not only forgive others, I had to learn how to forgive myself.
I learned to take accountability for my part in things, and I learned the very important distinction that taking accountability didn’t mean it was my fault. And that by choosing to forgive, it didn’t mean I was condoning what happened.
The truth was, I just didn’t want to carry the burden of my resentments anymore. I was ready to let go and do the work to heal myself.
That’s the beauty of forgiveness. It’s the gateway to true independence and freedom. We’re no longer bound by the story that we define ourselves by. The story that has prevented us from moving forward.
The vision of who you get to become once you’ve let go of the resentment can act like a guiding light through the often messy work of forgiveness.
How to let go of feelings of hurt and betrayal…
If you’re in pain, trying to figure out how to forgive someone who has hurt you, you have to start with radical acceptance. Before you can heal a resentment, you have to get out of denial and acknowledge that you have a resentment. That you’re engaging in something that’s hurting you.
Once you’ve reached this place of honesty with yourself, you can start taking personal inventory. Start to notice and ask yourself: What in me is this affecting? What part of me does this trigger? How am I keeping this hurt, this wound active and alive?
There might be a lot of resistance that comes up here! Looking at yourself is scary. The truth is, you might not want to take an honest look because you’re scared of what you might find. What your part in things really is.
So you just have to be willing. Be willing to look at yourself. Be willing to forgive yourself. Be willing to recognize the resistance when it comes up. Be willing to dive back in.
And when you find something about yourself you don’t like or that feels icky to see, return to self-forgiveness.
Using gratitude to forgive others
One of the most helpful things to remember when you’re doing the work to heal and forgive is that only angry, fearful or hurt people hurt other people. Once I learned this, I saw the gift in my pain and everything I had been through.
For the first time, I was able to see that this was an opportunity to grow deeper compassion. As a result of what I had been through, I developed a deep empathy and compassion for others who had been through the same things. I became more intuitive. And for that, I could be truly grateful.
Diving into the things I thought I would never get over was the most liberating thing I’ve ever done in my life. And I became grateful for this liberation. For the fact that my pain brought me closer to my higher power because I trusted that no experience was ever wasted.
If you’re trying to forgive someone who hurt you, you can’t fake your way there using gratitude. The gratitude has to be genuine. It has to come through the hard work of radical honesty, the willingness to let go and to make room for redemption, and seeing the freedom that comes on the other side of that.
And what you’ll see when you reach this point is how gratitude actually changes you and your brain for the long haul. You’ll start seeing your life and the stories you’ve told yourself through a whole new lens.
Sometimes, it might help to work with affirmations when you’ve reached this part of your healing journey. Every single word you speak has an energy – and affirmations are words that have spiritual power.
Affirmations aren’t about bypassing the healing process or not letting yourself feel your anger or pain as you forgive. Affirmations are like a spiritual healing for yourself. The more you say something like, “I am now willing to forgive this person. I am willing to send love and kindness to this person.”, the more this becomes true.
Sometimes you have to act your way into the behaviors and thoughts you want. That’s what affirmations are. You affirm before it’s real. Even if you don’t believe it’s possible yet.
Forgiving with the cycles of the moon
The most beautiful part about my journey of healing and forgiveness is that it has brought me continually closer to Spirit. And I’ve learned that we are really supported by the cycles of the Universe in our healing.
The full moon is a perfect example of a time when the energies of the Universe are supporting us in our efforts to let go and release. So around the full moon, I tend to look at the astrology of the moon and see what themes are present.
Then I ask myself, Do I need more compassion, love, or forgiveness in these areas? Do I need to let go of any resentments regarding these topics? What no longer serves me and mine? Do I need to make amends?
The full moon illuminates, so you’ll have an easier time seeing what really needs to be released from the shadows at this time. It’s also a beautiful time to celebrate!
I put together a FREE Guide To Manifesting With Moon Cycles, which I know you’ll love if you’re on a journey of releasing, forgiving, and healing. The moon and the cycles of the Universe are always here to support us. And when we learn to work with those energies to release what isn’t serving us, we’re also able to work with those energies to create the things we desire.