Encourage an Attitude of Forgiveness for Mindfulness - dummies

Encourage an Attitude of Forgiveness for Mindfulness

By Shamash Alidina, Joelle Jane Marshall

Forgiving others or yourself is a difficult thing to do. Being annoyed and angry with someone for a prolonged time isn’t beneficial for your wellbeing; to paraphrase Nelson Mandela, it’s like drinking poison and expecting the other person to feel the effects. Keeping anger locked in can cause resentment, which may lead to you feeling depressed.

A forgiving attitude toward someone doesn’t mean that the action the other person did was right. You’re forgiving the person, not the action. Forgiveness benefits you more than the other person. You’re learning to let go of the corrosive negative emotions that you’re walking around with. Instead, you’re giving yourself permission to let all that negative baggage go, so that you can live your life in a wise and harmonious way.

Try this approach to cultivating a forgiving attitude:

  • Understand that not forgiving someone else doesn’t actually hurt that person at all.

  • Be compassionate with yourself. If you’ve been ruminating over a problem for some time, perhaps now’s the time to let it go. You don’t deserve all this hurt you’re carrying around with you.

  • Feelings of hurt may be repeating themselves in your mind through a story. Try letting go of the story or seeing the story from another person’s perspective. Something may shift to help you to forgive.

Only practice the following meditation if you’re ready to adopt a forgiving attitude towards someone. If you don’t want to forgive, give this a miss and come back to it when you’re ready.

  1. Sit in a comfortable and relaxed position.

    Let your eyes close if that’s okay with you and breathe naturally. Imagine your breath going into your heart, as best you can.

  2. Consider the person who you want to forgive.

    Recall what they did to hurt you. If possible, gently feel the sense of hurt that you experienced. Notice any other feelings that you have towards the person, such as anger, frustration or disappointment.

  3. Notice that the other person doesn’t experience these feelings at this moment, but you do.

    You are carrying the feelings. And holding on to the difficult feelings doesn’t help you or affect the other person. Reflect on this.

  4. See the situation from the other person’s perspective.

    What sort of moods are they affected by? What’s their willpower like? What’s their character like? Understand that their actions are strongly influenced by their upbringing and circumstances.

  5. Finally, be compassionate with yourself.

    Understand that the process of forgiveness takes time, but leads to a happier and more peaceful you.