At New Year's the theme of forgiveness often comes up - it's that time of year when we take stock and a chance to clear out our emotional closets.
Blue Sky Coaching's Tania Basheer says that sometimes it's about forgiving another person, but more often than not, it's about forgiving yourself.
"If you're finding something difficult to forgive and move on from, I hope one of the following ideas or techniques will help you," Tania says.
1. 'Don't take anything personally' and 'Always do your best':
This profound wisdom comes from a wonderful book by Don Miguel Ruiz and his son Don J ose Ruiz called The Fifth Agreement. The essence of these two 'agreements' is, firstly, to know that nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering. Secondly, under anycircumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse, and regret.
2. Write it out, then tear it up, or burn what you've written, but don't keep it:
When we bury or suppress our emotions they can show up as physical ailments to be dealt with. The simple act ofwriting out all of what is upsetting you will allow expression and release of these emotions. Keep writing until there's nothing left to say. You can also do this as a letter addressed to another person, or simply freely write about whatever is causing you pain. Then release yourself from this situation by ripping up the pages or burning them. Don't keep them! It's said that the act of burning the pages will clear any bad karma that exists between yourself and the other person.
3. The 'Total Truth Process':
The goal of this process, described by Jack Canfield in his book,The Success Principles, is to begin by expressing your anger and then move through six stages, to the final stage of love, compassion and forgiveness. He says,'the reason I call it the total truth is that often, when we're upset, we fail to communicate all our true feelings to the person we're upset with. We get stuck at the level of anger or pain and rarely move past it to emotional completion. As a result, it can be difficult to feel close to - or even at ease with - the other person after such an angry or painful confrontation.'
For the process to be effective, you need to spend an equal amount of time expressing your feelings in each of these stages:
i. Anger and resentment. I'm angry that ... I hate that ... I'm fed up with ... I resent ...
ii. Hurt. It hurt me when ... I felt sad when ... I feel hur t that ... I feel disappointed about ...
iii. Fear. I was afraid that ... I feel scared when ... I get afraid of you when ... I'm afraid that I ...
iv. Remorse, regret, and accountability. I'm sorry that ... Please forgive m e for ... I'm sorry for ... I didn't mean to ...
v. Wants. All I ever want(ed) ... I want you to ... I want(ed) ... I deserve ...
vi. Love, compassion, forgiveness, and appreciation. I understand that ... I appreciate ... I love you for ... I forgive you for ... Thank you for ...
4. Energy tapping (or EFT):
This healing technique is easy to learn and can be used to facilitate forgiveness of small matters in just minutes, or a more significant issue with a few rounds of 'tapping.' For seasoned users of EFT, a reminder that the tip of the index fingernail point will help with 'letting go' and the little fingernail point is an important point in alleviating anger and allowing forgiveness.
5. Essential oils:
Our cells and muscles hold memory of our experiences and try to protect us from being hurt in the future by shutting down and making us unavailable. This serves to keep us safe on one level, yet imprisons us to live within a vicious cycle ofrepeating the same patterns like a broken record, until we are brave enough or over it enough to be willing to go near the pain and let it go. Young Living Essential Oils offer a range of essential oil blends to support us through all of life's challenges.
'Forgiveness' enhances your ability to forgive your self and others while letting go of negative emotions; 'Release' facilitates the ability to let go of anger and frustration. This blend also promotes harmony and balance; while 'Present Time' helps you focus on the here and now so you can move beyond the past and progress forward.
6. Loving kindness meditation:
Linda Sparrowe co-leads yoga and meditation retrea ts for women with cancer in Colorado and Massachusetts. She suggests reciting the following short prayer to ease your heart. Sit in a comfortable position. Set the intention to practise this meditation without judgement and with a healthy dose of affection for yourself. Inhaling and exhaling through your heart, visualise a time when you were really happy and experience that feel ing now. Recite, silently, the following statements:
'May I be filled with loving kindness; May I be peaceful; May I be healthy; May I be happy.'
Repeat the prayer over and over again for several minutes, feeling as though you are swaddled in loving kindness. When you feel ready, substitute the name of person you wish to forgive for the word 'I'. Set the intention to wrap this person in the love you now hold in you r heart. Don't worry if this seems impossible at first. Be patient and, ever so gradually, you'll begin to feel a shift.
7.A variation of the traditional Tibetan Buddhist shamat ha meditation:
Susan Piver, author of The Wisdom of a Broken Heart, agrees that meditation provides a direct route to forgiveness of all kinds, however, she acknowledges that when you're angry, it's not that easy to sit and let your thoughts bubble to the surface and then dissipate. In this case she suggest an alternate approach - notice your feelings. First, get really clear on what your story is - exactly why you feel what you feel - so that it will help you conceptualise what happened. And then drop it.
'Re-telling the story', Piver says, 'is a way of justifying your feelings rather than forgiving.' Piver recommends a variation of the traditional Tibetan Buddhist shamatha meditation, in which you sit, eyes partially opened, and observe the breath. When a feeling rages to the forefront of your mind, label it as a 'sensation,' and notice where it shows up in your body. As you experience anger or sadness, for example, does your jaw suddenly tighten or your chest feel like it's caving in?
'Put your attention on the sensation', Piver says 'and begin to soften and release those muscles where you experience the sensation. Don't focus on the story, but, when the story does come up, simply pause, let it go on an exhale, and return to the part of your body where the sensation lives. If you feel your lower back muscles clench, notice the tightness and breathe there for a while, unwinding the tightness with gentle exhalations.'