6 powerful ways to practice forgiveness

Today I decided to forgive you, not because you apologized, or because you acknowledged the pain you caused me, but because my soul deserves peace.

Najwa Zebian
practice forgiveness

If you’ve been hurt by someone who doesn’t even know they’ve caused you pain, you know it is a painful experience that won’t go away so easily. But your resent isn’t good for anyone. That is why it’s super important that you start to practice forgiveness, not necessarily because they deserve it, but because you do.

If someone hurts you and isn’t even aware of the pain they caused you, their ignorance can hurt even more than what they said or did in the first place.  How can you forgive a person who isn’t regretful? Should you even do that? In this article we are going to examine how you can practice forgiveness in order to heal yourself and let the situation go so you can move on. The tips below are meant to help you to calm your mind before you confront the one who hurt you, so you can calmly and objectively resolve the situation.

1. Get to know your inner artist (who is always in a forgiving mode)

If you’ve read Elizabeth Gilbert’s fantastic book Creative living beyond fear you’re familiar with the concept of an inner artist or creative genius or muse. If you haven’t read this book I highly recommend you to check it out. She writes about the creative inner force that resides within all of us and how to let this force flower and sing in your creative endevours. She also has a powerful Ted talk that is well worth watching.

Ask yourself: why are you hurt in the first place? What is it inside of you that is getting hurt? If you dig deep enough, you will find that small child who only sees beauty and wonder in the world. And it hurts to realize that it wasn’t allowed to see all the wonder. Forgiveness might be the last thing you think about right now.

The inner artist is a sensitive creature

The inner artist is a sensitive and vulnerable creature. You don’t just expose it for everyone to see, because it’s so vulnerable. Through years of studying this being, I’ve found that this is why people often behave critically towards each other and judge one another. They are too afraid to show that inner artist to anyone, in case it would get hurt.

I truly believe that if you allow yourself to let your inner artist flower and sing, wonderous things can happen. But it comes with a price, and that is running the risk of being ridiculed for it. So in order to protect it we tend to hide it until we are fully confident that it will be well recieved.

2. Find your trigger points

Start to observe what triggers your feelings througout the day. Do this for a while. You will soon start to see a pattern, for example you might see that one person often triggers your feelings while another person doesn’t. Why is that? Just observe and take notes. Don’t judge.

This list will help you determine what your trigger points are so that you can start to be aware of them and later forgive them. If it helps further, you can write down conversations you had with people that triggered you. That way you can easily go back to see patterns. If you observe without judging you can start to see the situations coming before they show up. That way you can remind yourself of a situation that triggered you in the past so that you can avoid being so triggered by it if it occurs again.

Related article: Is it ok to let go of toxic friends?

3. Write a journal for forgiveness

Invest in a journal of your choice and start writing out everything you feel in this situation. Your journal is your private home, and it doesn’t judge you. Write everything regardless of how painful it is, and notice if you’re triggered by something that comes up during your writing session.

Write until you don’t feel anger anymore to practice forgiveness even more

Write until you don’t feel anger anymore. Writ for as long as you need. Sometimes you need ten pages before the anger starts to fade away, sometimes you’re happy again after two. If you’re still angry when you stop writing, you’re not finished.

If someone has hurt you the pain can be so deeply rooted in you that you can’t finish your writing in one sitting. Take a break and continue to write until the anger or bitterness starts to fade away. It can be replaced with sadness, and you might cry. This is a good thing. You’re doing it right. Continue writing until you feel good again. It can take a couple of sittings, but it’s so worth it.

4. Reconnect with your inner child/artist to forgive yourself and the other

Grab some paper and some paint and paint what has happened. You don’t have to be an artist to paint your feelings. Just start painting. This technique also helps you to tap into your inner child as well. Remember that what you paint doesn’t have to be a piece of art. This is an exercise to let all your feelings out in the open. You might be surprised at what you discover.

Your inner child wants to express itself no matter what

Remember how it was when you were a child. When you made a drawing you didn’t judge your expression, you just loved to express yourself. It’s time to reconnect with that feeling you had as a child and process what you’ve been through with the eyes of that inner child or artist.

If you like to dance, write poetry, play music or something else, do that. As long as it’s something that lets that inner child of yours come out in the open and help you heal, it doesn’t matter what you do.

5. Meditate

If you have read this blog before you know I’m an advocate of meditation and self inquiry. Meditation can help to resolve stress and anxiety, but it can also set you in a new direction and let you see the situation from a bigger perspective to help you practice forgiveness even more.

You can also start to feel more relaxed and at peace with yourself which is a good starting point later on when you want to confront or talk to the person that hurt you. You can speak to them in a calm and forgiving way, which will help them to understand why they caused you pain.

6. The three step method to forgiveness

I have written about the three step method before, and it deserves to be repeated since it’s such a powerful method. In short it goes like this:

  1. Realize that you have to take 100% responsibility for your reactions. Either you control it or it controls you.
  2. Harvest the good.
  3. Forgive the rest/ let it go.

You can always get a powerful lesson with you in every experience. If you find it hard to let go and forgive the person that has hurt you, you have some more work to do. And remember – it’s not for their sake you want to do these practices, it’s for your own sake. As long as you store bitterness in your heart you will not be able to move forward. So the earlier you start this practice, the better.

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