Sometimes, no matter how mature and enlightened we are, there are things that feel unfinished and tugs at us. Whether it’s wanting an apology from someone or it’s forgiveness we seek, we’re waiting for something that may or may not happen. The other person may not even know we’re waiting. Or perhaps, they’re no longer available to give us what we want. Regardless of the scenario, these are difficult situations to be in, and they cause us ongoing suffering.
How do we let go?
Ultimately, forgiveness, peace of mind and happiness are things we must give ourselves. It’s our job to fill the holes in our hearts. And there’s a very simple way to give ourselves what we need most.
4 Steps to Forgiveness
- Sit or lie down in a quiet place where you’ll be undisturbed.
- Close your eyes. Breathe. Clear your mind.
- Visualize the person or persons you have unfinished business with. Now hear them saying the words that you most want to hear. You can simply listen or you can begin a dialogue with them by asking questions or making comments. If it’s forgiveness you’re seeking, say to them all that you’ve been waiting to say. See the person accepting your apology. Keep the dialogue positive with the aim of reconciliation.
- Now be with the feelings that come up. If you feel relieved or a sense of peace, then you’re on the right track. If there are any lingering feelings of negativity, you may have more work to do. Go back to step 3 and continue the dialogue until you feel peaceful.
I discovered this simple technique when I finally admitted to myself that I wasn’t going to get the acknowledgement or apology from two individuals who hurt me in the past. No matter how long I waited to hear them say, “I’m sorry”, it wasn’t going to happen. We can’t control other people.
Instead of waiting, I decided to give the experience to myself. When I heard the acknowledgement that I’d been waiting years for, I felt an immense sense of relief and peace. I no longer need these two people to actually apologize to me.
One caveat: if you caused someone else pain, it’s a good idea to still make amends even when you feel forgiven. Just the simple act of monitoring and changing your behaviour so that the transgression never happens again is an act of love.
Once you’ve mastered this technique, you can start exploring other experiences. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to feel a sense of belonging, acceptance, love or respect. You can use these four steps to give yourself these feelings. With practice they’ll become a part of you. Then, you’ll stop seeking them in the outside world; you’ll naturally feel loved and respected.
When you feel fulfilled, you no longer need anything from anyone else. Then you’ll interact with the world as it is, not as you wish it could be. This in turn will change the way you behave and, by changing your behaviour, you can change your life.