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How To Forgive Yourself And Others – Even If You Don't Feel Like It

Written by: Sophie Benbow, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Sophie Benbow

Forgiveness is one of the most difficult things to do, especially when someone has hurt us deeply. But it is also one of the most important things we can do for ourselves and for the world.

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Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk and peace activist, taught that forgiveness is essential for healing and transformation. He said that when we hold on to anger and resentment, we only hurt ourselves.

"When we harbor anger or resentment, we are poisoning ourselves," Thich Nhat Hanh wrote. "We are carrying a heavy burden that makes it difficult to live our lives fully."

Forgiveness does not mean that we condone or excuse the actions of the person who hurt us. It simply means that we let go of the anger and resentment. We choose to move on and to live our lives in peace.

There are many benefits to forgiveness. It can reduce stress, improve our physical and mental health, and strengthen our relationships. It can also help us to develop compassion and understanding.

Thich Nhat Hanh taught that forgiveness is not just about the person who hurt us. It is also about ourselves. When we forgive, we are releasing ourselves from the burden of anger and resentment. We are choosing to live in the present moment and to experience the joy of life.

Ways you can forgive

  • Acknowledge your feelings. It's important to allow yourself to feel the full range of emotions that come up when you think about the person who hurt you. This may include anger, sadness, resentment, and even fear. Once you've acknowledged your feelings, you can start to process them and let them go.

  • Write a forgiveness letter. This doesn't mean you have to send the letter to the person who hurt you. It can simply be a way to process your feelings and to express your forgiveness. In the letter, you can write about what happened, how it hurt you, and what you've learned from the experience. You can also write about how you forgive the person, even if you don't understand or condone their actions.

  • Practice mindfulness. When you're feeling angry or resentful, try to focus on your breath and on the physical sensations in your body. This can help you to ground yourself and to let go of negative thoughts and emotions.

  • Meditate on loving/kindness (Metta). Loving kindness meditation is a practice that cultivates compassion for yourself and for others. It is also a way to practice non-judgment as it challenges prejudices, assumptions and labels that we often manifest within. ‘Metta’ is a Buddhist term which means loving, kindness or friendliness. Metta meditation develops affectionate awareness. To meditate in this way, sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Repeat the following phrases to yourself:

"May I be happy and healthy. May I be free from suffering. May I be at peace."

Then, repeat the phrases for someone else you care about, and then for someone you don't know very well, and then for someone who has hurt you.

  • Forgive yourself. It's important to forgive yourself for any mistakes you've made, even if they've caused pain to others. Holding on to guilt and shame will only hurt you more. To forgive yourself, try to understand what happened, why you did it, and what you can learn from the experience. Then, let go of the guilt and shame and choose to move on.

Practice slowly and lovingly and be patient with yourself.

If you are not ready to forgive, that is ok but work on building conscious awareness. Soften into the idea of forgiveness with the thought that this might be an option for the future.

"When we forgive, we are not saying that what happened was okay. We are simply saying that we are ready to let go of the anger and resentment." – Thich Nhat Hanh

Forgiveness will be enhanced if you are embodying other mindful practices in your routine such as journaling, identifying your personal values, mirror work and meditation.

Enjoy the journey.

Follow me on Instagram, and visit my website for more info!

Sophie Benbow Brainz Magazine

Sophie Benbow, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Sophie Benbow is a self-development coach, Mindfulness and Meditation teacher who holds various qualifications in Health & Fitness. She aims to guide you on a journey of self-love, healing and compassion. Head on over to her website to enquire about coaching, listen to her meditations and follow her social channels.



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