Do you need to forgive in order to move forward? Yes. However, if you are struggling with feelings of betrayal, loss, rejection or heartbreak, it may take a while to reach a place of forgiveness.
Forgiveness involves a shift of identity. Each of us has an undying capacity for love and freedom that is untouched by what happens to us, and to come back to this true nature is the work of forgiveness. But forgiveness is a process like everything else and it is tied to your readiness to let go.
So how can you move forward if you don’t feel ready to let go?
1. Place an intention to forgive in your heart.
2. Explore different definitions around forgiveness.
Create The Intention to Forgive
The intent to forgive is a powerful tool, and choosing it is the first step to freeing yourself. Even though your feelings are still hurt, create the intention to let new feelings come in. Encourage even the slightest hints of a new feeling.
When you set your intention, it sets the compass of your heart and your psyche. By having that intention, even if you are not able to fully forgive, obstacles become surmountable because you know where you are going.
Another way to set the intention to forgive is to be grateful for what you have learned. Every situation in our lives, especially the negative ones, can teach us something. Set your intention and be ready to receive the lesson. The most challenging people in our lives are our best teachers.
Explore Different Definitions Around Forgiveness
Our ability to forgive may in part depend upon our definitions of forgiveness. There is not just one universal meaning that rings true for everyone. Definitions vary among dictionaries and publications.
Here is my favorite definition that Jack Kornfield offers: “Forgiveness means giving up our hope that the past could have been any different.” This takes the emphasis off the other person and puts it with you and your disappointed hope. It also brings us to the present and it implicitly offers the question, “Now what?” which invites a look to the future.
We have so much vested in our past, so many things we thought we wanted – and isn’t that what really keeps us so hooked to hurt? We want to rescript the past to fit our dreams, what we thought was possible, what we believed was possible. We become obsessed with resisting any unhappy ending.
In leaving the past behind, you open the door to possibility and empowerment. You aren’t allowing the past to pollute the present.
What will you do? Who can you be?