Self-Helpapedia

Powerful techniques to optimize your emotions, beliefs, and behaviors

The Forgiveness Exercise

The Forgiveness Exercise is a method useful for accepting and remaining open to others rather than harboring resentment or even hate, which ultimately would only hurt ourselves.



Warning: Folks with a history of mental illness, PTSD, or panic are urged not to use these techniques without a therapist. If you decide to do these processes you will agree to absolve the webmaster, the webhost, Emoclear.com, and Steve Mensing of any responsibility for the application or misapplication of these processes. There is always in any process the possibility that someone could experience some discomfort.

Forgiveness

Accepting ourselves, others, and circumstances, negatively impacting us, is a challenging task for many. To remain accepting and open often doesn't come easy. Hate and resentment can feel natural, yet as we mature these qualities often reveal who they hurt the most: us. They are stressful for us, not the persons we hate or resent.

Unless we act out our hate and resentment toward others, we never really touch others with our emotions. To believe otherwise is a form of magical thinking. We feel those feelings and the persons we hate or resent don't.

The process of overcoming hate and resentment and drawing on forgiveness can open us to our acceptance and love.

What blocks forgiveness? Most often beliefs like:



The person or group, who I hate or resent, is completely bad. He or she
must pay the price and suffer.
My lasting anger and resentment will magically ensure what happened will never repeat itself.
My angry and negative thoughts will magically punish "them".
If I let go of my grudge I will betray both myself and others who were harmed.
I am justifiably incensed. I am right to be angry, even though it happened 33 years ago and they are dead now.
The act is unpardonable and unforgivable. That is my rule.
By forgiving I am condoning what they did.
If I forgive, perhaps I will forget and dishonor the others who were harmed.

Steps to the Forgiveness Exercise

1. Left nasal dominance breathing: For this exercise gently pinch your right nostril shut and breathe through your left nostril only for 15 in and out breaths. Place your right thumb on your right nostril. This breathing will facilitate feeling.

2. Is there someone, a group, or yourself you would desire to forgive? Jot down whom or what it is on a piece of paper. What beliefs about this person(s), myself or events stimulate my feelings of hate and resentment? Examine those beliefs you wrote out and then move to step 3.

3. If another person(s) was involved, what were the influences of their beliefs, feelings, and behaviors on the circumstances that led to my choosing to hate or resent these persons? Would I have acted the same as that person(s) if I had the exact same beliefs, motivations, and feelings as they did under mirror conditions? Would I have made the same choices given their inner life and external circumstances? Here we are stepping into another's shoes and assuming their viewpoint. Spend some time with this step.

4. Can I find other elements to blame other than myself, someone else, or circumstances? Jot down a potential list of other potential targets for blame. Weather. Bad food. Gravity. Having wrong information. Turns in the highway. Can you blame the entire universe or just stop blaming altogether?

5. Did the offender actually try to harm you personally by the act?

6. What percentage of their or your behavior was purposeful? What percentage of their or your behavior was a reflection of their human fallibility or even a mistake?

7. Is there a way I can fully feel my hate and resentment and allow it to be there without trying to get rid of it or keep it? Can I use the
Emo Integrator or the Heartbeat Integrator with it?

8. Was the transgression, they or you did, intentional or unintentional?

9. Suddenly a miracle occurred. You are looking back from 5 years in the future and you are noting you have already accepted and forgiven yourself, others, or circumstances that you once hated and resented. What would you notice first about your accepted and forgiven self, others, or circumstances? What positive things would you notice? How might you feel better?

10. If you abruptly experienced forgiveness and acceptance for another or yourself, how long would that take before it felt natural? How would you know the forgiveness felt natural?

11. State aloud with conviction: "I forgive _____________." If you feel any doubts, counter beliefs, or negative emotional responses against forgiveness you can use the
Emo Integrator or Heartbeat Integrator to integrate it.

Take care, Steve

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