As we move into the new year all of us want to be our freshest, best, brightest selves, it’s the perfect time to talk about forgiveness, and the science on forgiveness.
It’s not the easiest thing to do sometimes (especially when they were oh so very wrong!!)… but there’s actually a lot of research around the benefits of forgiveness, so please keep an open mind and heart as we dive in!
Everyone gets excited about the idea of renewal around this time of year. It’s important because we are constantly evolving, and we need to shed old energies in order to be our best. Forgiveness plays a key role here in our ability to shed old heaviness.
Research on Forgiveness
Let’s talk about some of the research out there surrounding forgiveness. I’ll preface this by saying, that if you haven’t heard my podcast with Dr. Hart, who founded the Biocybernaut Institute, then please go listen to it. There’s a lot of great info and the training there is something I’ve done myself lately and it was life-changing on every level, but especially in increasing inner peace and joy.
Dr. Hart mentions a Gallup poll that was done where 80% of people rated forgiveness as extremely important on a scale of 1 to 4, and that forgiveness was extremely important in their life, and for their happiness. Yet the poll went on to find that 85% of people said that they could not deeply or truly forgive on their own(!).
Get Past Our Egos and Back Into Alignment with These Tips!
Not being able to forgive has a lot to do with our egos. And what’s interesting about our ego is that it relates to all the doubts, all the worries, and all the insecurities—everything that really isn’t us. This isn’t our true light, our true soul—but is our ego—and our ego is easily wounded.
Our ego is that which is offended by other people. The more we align with our true selves, the more we realize people’s praise and people’s annoying comments can’t really harm our true self. Our true self is neither elevated by praise nor diminished by criticism.
1. Connecting With Our True Selves
The more we connect with that true self (which comes from meditation), the more joyful we feel in general.
If you don’t take time and space between the noise and your thoughts, it can be really hard when you face these affronts and criticism—naturally, you’ll just want to pull away and hide.
I’ve definitely had periods of doing this in my life, where comments from family, friends or acquaintances have deeply affected me. As a child I would run to my room if I lost a board game and my sister laughed at me, and running away became a childhood pattern I’ve had to really work on to heal in adulthood. It can take a lot of energy to just let it all go. In the end, this is really about our well-being. The act of letting go and forgiving is really for you.
Remember that bridge we were talking about? Well, when you can cross that bridge to the other side, there is a real experience of lightness. That’s why it’s so important this time of year, because we all want to start the year light!!
2. Clearing Negative Energy
And it doesn’t stop there…we also want to clear this negative energy as we go into the New Year—which is towards spring, rebirth, and awakening—evolving in life (in general). We need to let go of heaviness and old stuff that we bring into the present.
Let’s forgive and broaden our vision to greater creativity and joy!
It’s easy to underestimate just how much that weighs us down—kind of like walking around with blinders on. The last time I checked, those were only for blinding horses, not humans! Essentially, this is how we are when we haven’t forgiven. Our vision gets narrowed, and not just about ourselves but about possibilities, and life, and creativity.
3. Walking in the Other Person’s Shoes
One thing that has helped me when having difficulty forgiving someone or something that has happened, is to really try walking around in the other person’s shoes. Really trying to see things from their perspective. Do this by closing your eyes and really concentrate—thinking about that specific person—where this person is coming from, how they were raised, their personal struggles and communication challenges.
When we elevate compassion, it becomes easier to forgive in a deeper way—not just on the surface, but on a deep level. It’s helped me get past anger at my parents (which most all of us have for various reasons!), which in and of itself has been so freeing.
When you actually visualize yourself as the other person (walking in their shoes), it increases a person’s capacity and ability to move further down in a positive direction on the forgiveness spectrum. This makes all the difference between just understanding on the surface, and going deeper.
4. Develop Empathy & Compassion
Developing true empathy and compassion will then shift that forgiveness into a real place where you’re really starting to let go. This is incredibly critical because many of us hold onto formative experiences that molded us into what we are today.
If these experiences were negative, then these moments in time can really make us start to think nothing we do is good enough, and we can end up being self-critical. This will inevitably lead towards a lot of resentment for years to come.
Again, this is where imagining (or really, embodying), what the other person was going through, and their feelings (at the time), can play a huge part in our understanding the whole situation, and in being able to release the emotional toxins.
It’s not always about us in the end, but what the other person was dealing with. Once you realize this and can move forward in forgiveness, you will feel so much lighter. You will feel that shift, and will no longer be so hard on yourself, expecting perfection or something that is out of reach.
Forgiving will help you feel so much richer, and more joyful. The power of forgiveness is truly amazing.
5. Evaluate Your Life
This time of year it’s also a little bit darker and the season for going inward. It’s cold outside. You may be home thinking more. This is an excellent time to sort of survey and see where you can let go and forgive more in your life.
Then afterwards, you could even make a phone call or you could see that person and share with them sort of how you want to move on and IF that feels good to you. Sometimes no external action is needed, just the act of forgiving within yourself is what can open up lots of energy and is all the action that is required. It could just be the beginning of more and more energy and more light as we head into the new year.
That is my wish for you—to feel so much more peace and love. This is possible, especially once you get to the other side of forgiveness.
I hope you will find some of this information to be helpful during this holiday season, and really, throughout the entire year. Be happy, be joyful, be free!!