My journey with forgiveness was a difficult one. Reconciling with myself and others who have wronged me was not an easy process. Grudges can feel heavier than rocks, and sometimes it’s hard to let them go. My grudges began to build up, especially for the people I had to see and work with often. Eventually, all my resentments and anger resurfaced at the same time. I had seen my ex-best friend at Publix, then I went home and opened Instagram, only to find another ex-best friend. I was tired of feeling angry, hurt, and sad. I was tired of letting my pain from the loss of other relationships damage my current relationships. They moved on, so it was my turn too.
I bought a journal from the dollar store and wrote the names of each person I had not yet forgiven. I finished the list with my name. For each person, I wrote about the events that led to the loss of our relationship, how I felt about it, and the circumstances preventing me from forgiving them. Then I wrote, “I forgive you.” After writing, I took a moment to take three deep breaths. As I inhaled, I felt love in my heart for the relationship we once had. As I exhaled, I released all the negative emotions I had towards them. I repeated this until I felt true forgiveness for the person. I repeated this process with each person.
Forgiving some was harder than forgiving others. It’s important to remember that some wounds take longer to heal. Forgiveness is the first step in the healing process. Throughout my process, I reminded myself that forgiving people was not about them. It wasn’t about letting them back into my life. It was about me. It was about forgiving them for my peace so that I could move on.
When I got to my name on the list, I wrote about all the things I regretted and all the terrible things I did to others. I took three deep breaths, and with each breath, I let go of all guilt I held from these events. I extended the same love and forgiveness to the others on my list to myself (times 10). This list was longer, but throughout the process, I reminded myself that I am human, and I make mistakes. What’s most important is that I learn and grow from those mistakes.
Forgiveness will never be easy, but it is necessary for peace and healing. Everyone’s journey with it can look very different. I have simply chosen to share mine. I hope you can model my journaling activity and find forgiveness in your heart.
Below is a TedTalk that helped me form my perspective on the matter.