• Sunday, July 21, 2024
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Ten ways to practise forgiveness

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Considering last week’s article, there is no doubt that offences will always occur. However, how we react to or manage it matters the most, as our well-being depends on it. You would have also noticed that unforgiveness or constantly taking offence affects all eight aspects of wellbeing, from the spiritual to the financial. This means we all need to either build coping mechanisms for it or avoid taking the bait by practising forgiveness.

While this article underscores the significance of forgiveness in fostering a balanced, healthy life, it’s essential to acknowledge the depth of the hurt, pain, ridicule, shame, or any negative emotions that may have led to unforgiveness. The following recommendations and suggestions are not just theoretical concepts but also practical strategies derived from real-life experiences and studies. They have proven to be effective in dealing with unforgiveness and can help you fully enjoy life.

Read also: Ten negative effects of unforgiveness

Acceptance: Acknowledging the negative feelings that past hurts have left behind is crucial. Feelings like anger, bitterness, or anxiety are all too common when we hold onto unforgiveness. But remember, each feeling has significance, and by identifying and addressing them, we can take decisive steps towards healing. This process works, and we’re here to guide you through it.

Root cause: Every offence has a root cause. Aside from grievous mishaps or deliberate acts of wickedness, unforgiveness or constantly taking offence may be deeply rooted in something completely different. I’ve come across a story of an individual who was always grouchy because of a health challenge he wasn’t aware of. Immediately after he was diagnosed and treated, he stopped being irritable. He became so pleasant and fun to be around. So, find out what is responsible for the incessant snapping or constant offence-taking.

Learning outcome: It is one thing to know the root cause; it’s another to act on the knowledge. Once you can identify who is responsible for the offence or hurt, assess the situation to determine the role you must have played in it. If it’s something within your control, avoid doing it again so you don’t have a repeat experience with someone or something else. This awareness also means we shouldn’t be another person’s trigger only to be at the receiving end.

Empathy: Like the famous saying, ‘Hurt people hurt people’. So many traumatised or wounded people often lash out and hurt others without realising the damage they are causing. The danger is that if this goes unchecked, it can cause a cycle of harm where hurting people unconsciously inflicts pain on others, who, in turn, do likewise to some other people. This is why it’s crucial to adopt a mindset that makes you empathetic towards your offender, believing that they didn’t know any better. I’ve had to pray for someone who was stressing me out before. It wasn’t easy, but immediately, I got to the point where I could genuinely pray for the person; I couldn’t see myself resenting the individual anymore. This empathy is a reminder that we are all humans, capable of making mistakes, and in need of understanding.

 “ You would have also noticed that unforgiveness or constantly taking offence affects all eight aspects of wellbeing, from the spiritual to the financial.”

Perspective: Self-discovery and self-awareness have a profound impact on your ability to overcome specific challenges. Many people are hurt by the words spoken to them. Those hurtful words are from the offender’s perspective, not yours. Accepting those words means you agree with what was said to you. If your perspective differs, then stand firm. Counter those negative words with positive self-talk. Encourage yourself with compassionate and uplifting words that resonate with your soul.

Support: You may need to talk to someone about your encounter or experience. Remember the saying, “A problem shared is half solved?” Seek support from a trusted family member or a good friend. If you do not have someone you can discuss or confide in, seek a neutral party like a counsellor or therapist who can either listen as you unburden yourself or help you recover, depending on what you want or need.

Socialise: As you undergo therapy, be sure to lead an everyday life as best as possible. Don’t allow offence, hurt, or loss to affect your relationship with other people. As much as you don’t want to tell everyone about it, you should also avoid isolation.

Self-care: Prioritising self-care is a powerful tool for combating physical and emotional stress. Take time to reflect on positive experiences and relive those moments of joy and happiness. This practice can significantly boost your overall wellbeing, empowering you to take control of your emotional state and find peace amidst the chaos.

Read also: Eight tips to maintaining your spiritual well-being Part 2

Decision: Making decisions to forgive may vary based on the magnitude of the offence, the level of hurt, and personal beliefs. Regardless of the reason, it is still essential for you to forgive. However, deciding so may involve talking to the offender, writing a letter of forgiveness to the person even if you don’t send it, or praying for the person. Another smart way to move along quickly while ensuring healing is by involving others with similar encounters through a worthy cause. There, you and others can create awareness by sharing your stories so that others can learn from them or heal from them.

Gratitude: In every situation, find a reason to give thanks. If you delve deep into what must have hurt you so deeply, you will realise there is still room for gratitude because it could have been much worse. You can also be grateful for how the occasion or event has made you more knowledgeable, proactive, or resilient, propelling you into doing extraordinary things you never thought you could achieve. If you search hard enough, you will find up to five things to be grateful for amidst the chaos.


Call To Action

How has forgiveness set you free, and what aspect(s) of your wellbeing was positively affected when you let go?

Kindly email me at [email protected]. Olayinka Opaleye is a Wellbeing Specialist and Corporate Wellness Strategist from Lagos. She can also be reached on 09091131150 or via www.linkedin.com/in/olayinkaopaleye.