Forgiveness had forever been an elusive concept for me. I never understood why one should forgive someone who has caused them agony.

After all, in most cases the perpetrator doesn’t even seek forgiveness but we are expected to practice this heart wrenching concept. There are some who preach that we should be the bigger person and forgive, as if we are doing some favor for the person who is presumably beneath us. To me, this doesn’t hold water because all humans are equal.

It used to anger me a lot until I understood that it is all about me and not about the other person who has hurt me. When I take total responsibility, my perspective of the situation changes. Even forgiving another person makes sense because I’m the one suffering with the pain & anger. And who doesn’t want to be free of suffering?

I attended a workshop during the covid19 pandemic where I learnt the concept of ‘Ho’oponopono’.

‘Ho’oponopono’ is an ancient Hawaiian spiritual practice that is believed to heal through forgiveness by taking responsibility for everything that surrounds us. The prayer goes as below:

I’m sorry

                                                             Please forgive me

I love you

I thank you

All you do is repeat these 4 phrases. Here is a video to help you familiarize with the concept

I learnt that the concept of forgiveness is much deeper. Apparently we carry karma when we judge people either with sympathy or hatred which leads to a never ending bond with them life after life. It became instantly clear to me that I did not want to carry these burdens forever. Therefore, it is in my best interest to forgive.

And at the end of the practice you are supposed to visualize that the other person (whom you are trying to forgive) is happy. Liberation means you do not feel any pain/anger over their happiness.

Some could achieve this in a few days, others in a few months and sometimes it can take even a few years depending on the level of your trauma. So, don’t rush the process. It is a journey.

I have always wondered about the timing of practicing forgiveness towards someone. In my experience it is never easy to even have the thought of forgiving someone when you are wounded and hurting. Therefore, the first step towards forgiveness is to actually distance yourself from the person and work on your healing. There is an old saying that time heals all wounds but this may not be completely true. Time does bury the pain but it shows up in other situations with other people if you do not intentionally heal the particular trauma.

And by the way, trauma is different than just having an argument with someone where you feel anger towards someone that lasts for a moment or few days. Sometimes being in certain situations just makes you feel bad and hurt. Such situations can easily heal by practicing ‘Ho’oponopono’ immediately after the situation because it changes your vibration towards the other person.

I believe we are wise enough to differentiate between inconsequential hurt and trauma.

Now that you have managed to heal and forgive, what happens after?

Should you continue to be in contact with this person? Well, that’s for you to determine.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean accepting bad behavior and allowing harm to continue.

It also doesn’t mean that if someone harmed you enough to land in jail, you let them get away from the punishment. They must face the consequences of their wrong doing.

The practice of forgiveness is for your own closure and you are in no way responsible for the other person who wronged you.

For you to practice forgiveness, the emotional or physical damage caused must have been a great deal. So, cut the cord if you can and move on with your life. In the event that you can’t cut the cord, keep minimal contact until someone proves that what happened to you was a one off and won’t be repeated again.

Don’t be vulnerable, act in your best interest. You did not go through this lesson to repeat your mistake. Conserve your energy for better things in life. You deserve to be happy.

Much Love,

Rashmi Yadav

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