Forgiveness is an internal process of letting go. The one who forgives refuses to allow destructive emotions to live rent-free in his or her head and stops wishing for a better past. True forgiveness is about reclaiming control of one’s own emotions.
When someone forgives, he or she is neither condoning behavior nor reconnecting automatically with the perpetrator. I emphasize this, because many people erroneously think that when they forgive they are saying that what happened was okay and now they have to be best friends with the person and/or organization that they are forgiving.
People can internally forgive by letting go of destructive emotions that are eating them up from the inside, they can free themselves from the hate and anger that are consuming them, but, at the same time, they can be strongly opposed to the behavior that hurt them, seek justice or reparations, and refuse to reconnect with the persons or organizations at fault, all while being emotionally free and tempered.
It took me a while to firmly grasp this idea. When I realized that I could forgive and yet keep my distance from the persons and organizations that wronged me, that I could forgive and yet stand firmly against the behavior that injured me, it was truly liberating.
The same can be true for you. You are allowed to let go of the thoughts and emotions that are causing you harm. Condoning behavior in the future or reconnecting with the person who harmed you are separate and optional processes.
Peace of Mind
How will you know whether or not you have forgiven?
One measurement is that you can think about the person or organization that wronged you without feeling the destructive emotions that have been eating you up from the inside. You will not have forgotten about the experiences, but thinking about them will no longer cause you grief, irritation or anger.
It doesn’t mean that what happened was okay or that everything is now fine between you and the wrongdoer. It means that you are no longer responsible for carrying painful emotions with you wherever you go.
The result is peace of mind.
Emotional Freedom and Personal Harmony
Forgiveness can happen in an instant or it can be a long drawn out process. The first step is simply to open the door. Allow yourself to think or say: “Maybe, just maybe, I can forgive.” Then read a book about the process. Work with a friend. Work with a therapist. Get the help you need.
Carrying anger, fear, hatred, and sorrow around is a heavy burden. Consider forgiving for the sake of emotional freedom and personal harmony. When you do, you will be much better equipped to work towards social harmony.
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We are an educational and social good interfaith organization. We provide people with access to strategies, methods, and ideas that promote social harmony and enable bridge-building across divides. We use the term interfaith broadly to mean 'a strong belief in someone or something' and focus on improving interrelations between people who have different worldviews. Our primary goals are to remind people of our shared humanity and to support new and ongoing efforts.
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©Harmony Interfaith Initiative
Registered in Hays County, Texas
Founded in 2018
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