If you prefer to LISTEN rather than read, here’s the podcast version of this article for you 🙂
Admit it – it’s hard to forgive those who have wronged you. What were they thinking??? What gives them the right??? HOW DARE THEY???
Worst of all, it doesn’t end there. Not only did they do you wrong, but now you’re left holding the bag, feeling angry and hurt and bitter, and now you’re supposed to forgive them when they haven’t even apologized profusely, lavished you with expensive and classy gifts, and groveled in the mud, begging and sobbing for your forgiveness?
The sad fact is that people are people, and people are imperfect. Lucky for you, you are a far superior being to those evil-doers, and you want to forgive them, even when they don’t deserve it.
That doesn’t make forgiveness any easier, so we’ve created this list of helpful steps to guide you through the many cases of insensitivity and injustice unfairly inflicted upon you.
Read through the list as far as you need until you feel forgiveness bring you the calm, sweet, nurturing inner peace that you would enjoy endlessly if not for all the horrible people in the world.
1. Recognize that it’s not really a big deal. Seriously, in the grand scheme of things this is NOTHING! One kid peeing in the waves doesn’t pollute the entire ocean and ruin your whole vacation [billions of fish do it all the time and I don’t hear you complaining about them]. What’s one speck of sand in your clam chowder? What’s one tiny mosquito in the whole jungle? Just swat it and move on. Also, that may teach the other mosquitoes not to mess with you.
2. Forgive and forget. Once forgotten, it’s as if the event never happened and your peace continues as before. Of course it’s a lot easier to forget someone who has disappeared and is no longer around to remind you.
“When was the last time you saw him/her?”
“I’m sorry, officer; I seem to have forgotten.”
3. Lower your expectations. Recognize that people are flawed and don’t expect them to be better than they are. Would you fault a stupid, insignificant bug for hovering over the highway and smearing its disgusting, repulsive body across your windshield as you drive by at excessive speeds? No, of course not! So why not think of your offender in the exact same terms?
4. Communicate clearly. Sometimes your offender is simply clueless and fails to realize how seriously offensive, insensitive, and hurtful their actions were. Would you fault a puppy for doing its business on your lawn? No, of course not! You would naturally understand that it didn’t know any better; though you might also scream and swear and flail your arms wildly at that puppy and perhaps throw the newspaper in its general direction to help it learn. As a wise old dog, it will reflect on the experience and deep in its heart of hearts, thank you for caring enough to speak up.
5. Imagine the person being forgiven by Perfect Love. Sometimes when forgiveness is simply too much to ask of you, then give up and instead imagine the Great, Wise, All-Knowing Universe (or God or karma) taking all factors into consideration and forgiving your debtor due to his/her lesser intelligence, difficult childhood (obviously), lack of good role models (you came along too late, after the formative years), the numerous wrongs done to them in the past due to their unattractiveness, and whatever progress – slow though it may be – they’re probably making along their personal path through life’s lessons.
Also remember that this Universal karmic force, like the perfect parent, rewards and punishes in order to teach each creature the path of virtue. Try to imagine what punishment or how many years in hell would purify their karma for their offense against you. Dwell on this for as long as necessary.
If you’re concerned that harboring such malevolent thoughts toward another creature will damage your own karma, ask yourself whether you want to restore your inner peace or not. Yeah? Then don’t shy away from whatever it takes to get there.
6. Imagine them asking for your forgiveness. Sometimes an apology – the recognition of wrongdoing – is all we need to make forgiveness easy. The subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between imagination and reality, so if the person is unlikely to ask forgiveness, you can restore peace to your mind by imagining it happening instead.
If in reality s/he is totally clueless or such an arrogant dick that you have a difficult time imagining them ever confessing their error, It may prove beneficial to imagine them standing on the beach, tears streaming down their face, their wrists cuffed to the pier, feet cast in cement blocks, waiting for the tide to slowly roll in, pleading sincerely and fervently for your forgiveness.
7. Take pity on your offender, and let pity replace the pain in your heart. Make a detailed list of all the reasons to pity them, meticulously listing their many flaws and every stupid thing they ever said or did for as long as you can remember. Ask others for help in compiling this forgiveness list if necessary.
8. See the big picture. Time heals all wounds, and in extreme cases, you may find it too difficult to forgive until after the offender has passed away. If you are unfortunate and they are still alive and don’t already have cancer, a dangerous drug habit, or horrible driving skills, then simply imagine them dying and enjoy the rush of peace and joy that follows successful forgiveness.
If your imagination fails to deliver the desired calm, try imagining more certain methods of death like being slowly crushed by a steam roller, run over by a long freight train, or sawed into dozens of tiny pieces at a lumber mill to help you gain the healing wisdom of that wider perspective.
9. Forgive them for your own sake. The sooner you forgive, the better. Not only does failure to forgive clamp your heart shut and make time pass by bitterly, but it actually makes you age prematurely. For proof, study the three central figures in the photo below:
You guessed it, this is another of those cute “Let’s recreate our childhood photos!” photo, with the three subjects lined up just like when they sat on the porch as toddlers (see above). Notice that *one* of them looks at least a decade older than the others. Don’t let that be you twenty years down the road!
10. Cook up your revenge. No, don’t lower yourself to their level, kill ’em with kindness and make them cookies! I don’t mean making cookies FOR them; make cookies OF them. Add these steps to your favorite recipe:
– Combine ingredients and beat with wire whip until puffy.
– Place dough on cookie sheet in the form of your offender.
– Preheat oven to max and bake until they catch on fire.
As they say, revenge is sweet. These are guaranteed to be the best cookies you’ve ever tasted…or tossed from your car window at freeway speeds.
11. Recognize the priceless opportunity for personal growth this difficult experience gave you. For example, you have now practiced this list of helpful forgiveness skills and are better prepared to handle the next time someone does you wrong with grace and style.
12. If all else fails, put yourself in their shoes and imagine that YOU did to them what THEY did to you! Imagine they’re all hurt and angry and stewing in their bitterness. Geez, get over it already, right?! What, do they expect you to be perfect ALL the time? That’s so unfair, so unreasonable. Why can’t they just move on and be happy? Getting all bent out of shape ain’t gonna help nothin’! Everybody makes little mistakes now and then and if people wouldn’t take it all so dang seriously, we’d all be a lot better off, right? Of course right! If they can’t forgive, then it’s their problem now.
To make this step complete, also imagine yourself begging for their forgiveness, making restitution if possible, and vowing to be more loving and careful with people’s feelings next time around.
Now tell us your favorite of these steps in the comments section below and SHARE THIS helpful list with your friends and thus do your part to make the world a more loving, laughing, forgiving place :)!