Power of Forgiveness , How and Why to Forgive ?
तेज, क्षमा, धैर्य, बाहर की शुद्भि एवं किसी में भी शत्रु भाव का न होना और अपने में पूज्यता के अभिमान का अभाव —–ये सब तो हे अर्जुन ! दैवी सम्पदा को लेकर उत्पन्न हुए पुरुष के लक्षण हैं ।। ३ ।।
Vigour, an attitude of forgiveness towards others, courage, purity, goodwill, towards others, and freedom from pride. All of these, dear Arjuna, are considered by Me to be the great characteristics of a man who possesses a divine nature and has come into this world from heaven. – Geeta chapter -16, shlok- 03
Before beginning today’s topic, I would like to welcome you all and also want to thank you people.For taking out time from your busy life to read and appreciate what we want to convey.
A few days back I read this shloka from Bhagvad Gita. It left me pondering upon the thought of forgiveness. What is forgiveness and why is it so important?
Definitions of Forgiveness
If you ask different people, each and every one of them have a different meaning for it. However, if you search the internet you will find meanings like:-
“forgiveness is a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.”
“It frees us to live in the present.”
“To Forgive does not erase the past, but looks upon it with compassion.”
But if I ask you what is the first thing that comes to your mind when you read or hear this word?
Maybe you have images of tears, hugging and restoration of a relationship. Or maybe you actually feel emotions like hurt, anger or feel repulsive to the idea because of someone or something.
To be honest, while I was thinking about writing this blog and letting you people know what it is and how important it is, I realized, I had much more resistance to the idea than I expected. It is said that “forgiveness is not for the faint hearted“. To me, this statement should be true for all of us, because most of us when hurt and are presented with the opportunity to practice forgiveness, it’s not our first instinct. To be precise sometimes it feels impossible.
Understand who you want to forgive
Think carefully, is there someone in your life that no matter how hard you try, how many books you read, how many lectures or workshops you attend you still can’t forgive? If you ask me, I have a long list of people who at some point mattered to me a lot but now we hardly talk.
Sometimes it’s like why to keep this baggage hanging along instead I should forgive and forget and let it go but at the same time the protective shell around me holds my hand and makes me question is this the right path?
So, I decided to get into the matter deeper and explore the meaning and purpose of forgiveness.
Why to forgive
There was this scene in Mahabharata where Lord Krishna asked Devi Draupadi to forgive Kauravas for disrobing her. This statement came to me as a shock. It’s like how can we forgive a person who has done so much wrong to us. However, before I could come to a decision Lord Krishna explained his statement further. He explained, when we are not ready to forgive someone it’s like we are the ones, holding ourselves in a state of pain and suffering where we relive a past that we can never change.
Moreover, she being the epitome of strong women can’t hold herself in her personal sorrow. Instead she has to let go of it and prepare herself and make it a movement for the welfare of the society. To deliver justice to the society. By forgiving such tamasic souls it’s you who is getting the strength to fight for the bigger cause.
This was the moment when I realized two things, first Devi Draupadi was a very powerful woman and second that forgiveness is a journey, a difficult one but once we decide to take it, it’s we who will be the most beneficial one.
Benefits of forgiveness
Reading about this topic in more depth I came across an article published by The Mayo Clinic ,which precisely indicated how forgiveness affects our emotional well-being. According to them, forgiveness promotes healthier relationships, improved self-esteem, a decrease in stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, reduced symptoms of pressure, benefits to the immune system, improved heart health and so on.
I know you people might be thinking that okay we get it. Forgiveness is way important for us; it helps to keep us in the present and also helpful for our emotional well-being but what about those who, no matter how hard you try you are not able to forgive.
Earlier as I told you people that I attended a few motivational lectures and also read books about this. So, to solve your confusion I would like to mention a few points that I found helpful, with a hope that they will work for you too.
How to forgive?
I won’t say that the methods which I am going to state will teach you fully how to forgive. But, can say that it will help you to some extent to understand how to let this baggage off.
Moreover, I also want to say that it is not necessary that forgiveness is not the only way to move on from painful past experiences. It is possible to lead a happy and healthy life without forgiving your perpetrator.
But according to a saying by Dr Wayne dyer “When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind.”
So, coming back to the ways here are some;
Don’t make JUDGMENTS
When we form judgments about people, we are making concrete opinions about them which we won’t allow to change. In order to forgive someone, we need to let our judgments, our opinions about the other person go. And accept them the way they are. When we let our judgments go, we open our mind to more possibilities and are able to accept ourselves and others.
Let go of the past and live in the present.
As I said earlier when we are not ready to forgive someone it’s like we are the ones holding ourselves in a state of pain and suffering where we relive a past that we can never change. In short, we give more importance to what has already gone than what is happening presently in our lives. Hence, it’s upon us whether we want to live happily or we want to live in our pains and sorrows. As said by Carl Jung “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.”
When you are given a choice to be either right or be kind always choose to be kind.
As I always say it’s easier said than done so is the case with kindness. When we give our egos the liberty to take the decision, it’s the time when we become overly focused on proving ourselves right and the other person wrong. Which is totally unfair and are being unkind? Now it can be both intention or unintentionally but this is the fact. But, when we choose kindness, we provide ourselves the chance to unfold this blindfold of hatred and lets us see the love that we have for the other person and hence becomes easier for us to forgive.
Think about yourself.
I know you might be thinking that by not forgiving the other person we are doing justice with ourselves. We are letting our walls of protection on. But that’s not the thing. By not forgiving, we are the ones getting emotionally hurt and don’t forget about the benefits that forgiveness does to our emotional well-being as mentioned above.
When we are struggling it’s easier for us to point fingers on others and blame them. However, when we apply this logic to our lives, we essentially give our power over to other people. Because we are saying ‘I am powerless to change until you do’. When we take full responsibility for where we are at, we open up the opportunity to learn from our experiences and take control over the way we feel.
Not necessary to be in touch with the person
Some might think that if we forgive the other person, we are giving them a chance to hurt us again. In situations like this, I would suggest that it is not necessary that after forgiveness you have to be in touch with the person. You can let them go. But the good thing is you guys did not end on bad terms.
When you ever cross paths with the person, you don’t have to experience the bad feeling again because you have already freed yourself from all such feeling of hatred.
My thought about forgiveness
I want to say that forgiveness is a way tougher journey and everyone takes it at their own pace. Don’t rush, go slow. Sometimes it’s not possible or the decision of forgiveness doesn’t seem right for you.
it’s okay don’t blame yourself, don’t be harsh on yourself. Because ultimately for us we should be our priority and hence do what you feel right. Happy forgiving. 😊
Also read Life is a Quest – Happy Questing ,