10 STEPS TO FORGIVNESS

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with everyform of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other,just as in Christ God forgave you. – Ephesians 4:31-32For many people, forgiving someone you feel has wronged you can be one of thehardest steps we have to make in life. However, forgiveness can be a spirituallyliberating act that can help you rebuild bridges and help you develop as a person.Finding the courage to forgive someone is undoubtedly difficult, but here are afew steps to help you on your way, and remember: the first to apologize is thebravest. The first to forgive is the strongest. And the first to forget is thehappiest.

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1.Understand that forgiving someone for their wrongs does not give themlicense to repeat their actions, rather resolving to move on from the eventand re-establish a relationship.

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2.Remember exactly who it is who is being hurt by your non-forgiveness. In many cases, the person who has been wronged is the person who suffers most. You may feel that by not-forgiving a person you are in some way punishing them, but the reality is that the anger and hurt is yours alone.

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3.Do not seek explanations as a prerequisite to forgiveness. Knowing why a person wronged you is unlikely to lessen the pain as the memory of the experience will still remain regardless of whether you know why it happened.

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4.Establish what needs forgiving. If it helps, make a list of exactly what was done that caused you pain. When doing this, be sure to focus on the actualdeed rather than your emotional response to it.

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5.Make a list of what you cherish about your relationship with the other person. In many relationships – be they professional, friendly or romantic – the positives often outweigh the negatives, even if we mainly focus on the negatives. Placing a person’s actions in the context of a lifetime rather than just a moment can help you gain perspective and forgive easier.

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6.Write a letter to the person who has wronged you and explain how they hurt you. In the letter you can express your forgiveness and place an emphasis on the positive aspects of your relationship, whatever it may be. Although there is no need to actually send the letter, it is important to be completely honest as this will provided you the chance to externally express your emotions and not just keep them all to yourself.

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7.Resolve to “let go” of your resentment of the event that caused you pain. This can be done by destroying the lists and letters you have created in the previous steps, or by making a mental promise to yourself to move on emotionally. Naturally this is easier said than done, but recognizing the need to make such a step is just as important as actually making the step.

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8.Visualize the person you are forgiving being blessed by your forgiveness. Guilt can be a destabilizing emotion that can cause a person great anguish. Receiving forgiveness from someone you have wronged can be a wonderful gift. Relieving someone from their guilt can be just as rewarding for you as it can be for them.

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9.Forgive. When possible, let the person know that you forgive them and look forward to rebuilding the relationship anew.

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10.Do not look back in anger. After you have forgiven someone, either privately or by explicitly letting them know, it is time to move on. Forgivingsomeone only to hold their sins and wrong-doing against them later isn’t true forgiveness, so make sure that you truly let go of your ill-feeling towards the person after you have forgiven them.