There are times in your life when you are walking uphill, lugging the unresolved baggage of your past. It’s hard to see clearly what is behind you and what issues you still carry inside, not to mention how to resolve them all. Although you may feel the profound emptiness of not forgiving yourself, you just can’t let go.
Put down that bag, open it up, and let’s get started. Until you stop, drop the bag, open it up, and start facing the pain and struggle that is part of your journey, you will continue to repeat negative patterns that feed the hurt and anger inside, and disconnect you from yourself and others.
Forgiveness means letting go of pain and resentment. Resentment means reliving past hurts, injustices, regrets, and failures. They burden your mind, muddy your emotions and end up in your body as stress, disease, and heartache.
Instead, it’s time to learn how to use pain and struggle as your teachers, helping you learn forgiveness, humility, self-respect, and be empowered. Most importantly, forgiveness helps you live from your heart — not your head — and that is a key to embrace letting go of heartaches and feelings of being unworthy or unloved.
The way of the heart is the way of forgiveness, and with forgiveness, you can thrive.
Let’s explore what I call the “9 Fundamentals of Forgiveness.”
1. CULTIVATE COMPASSION
Forgiveness is an empowering act of love and a magnanimous expression of your spirit. Start with yourself and work towards compassion for others. Compassion nourishes your soul and fills your heart with gratitude.
2. LET GO
By working on letting go of your past, and detaching from pain and sorrow, you tap into the magic of the peacemakers and this is key to self-mastery. It removes you from conflict, and lets you focus on the pursuit of greater happiness.
Forgiveness is a clear conscious choice that demonstrates your determination to right the wrongs, and bring about reconciliation, peace, and harmony. Every action is met by a reaction, and whatever you forgive in others, you also forgive in yourself.
If you don’t practice forgiveness, you won’t have inner peace. When you judge or condemn others, you are sentencing yourself to the very same judgment and condemnation. This diminishes your integrity and dims your light. Instead, strive to accept. Acceptance nourishes your soul and lightens your load.
Forgiveness is the expression of unconditional love. Love does not blame or find fault. Love does not reject, judge, compete, divide, or seek retribution. Love reaches out in the face of injury to understand, resolve, and become whole again.
6. BE WILLING
Be willing to release your fears. As you let go of fear, you leave space for forgiveness to move in to your heart and move out anger and resentment. Willingness lifts your burdens, dissolves fear and guilt, washes away shame, neutralize bitterness, and tears down the walls of pride and ego.
Forgiveness soothes the pain of the past and eases the way to a greater peace of mind. Forgiveness heals old wounds, severs karmic ties, and alleviates trauma.
8. BE LIBERATED
Forgiveness is very freeing. When you forgive the things you perceive as injustices in your life, you set yourself free to soar to greater spiritual heights. “To err is Human, to forgive, Divine” is true, and also incredibly liberating.
9. BE PEACEFUL
Peace and love are the pillars of wisdom. Allow forgiveness to help you be at peace with yourself, and let your heart be present every step of the way on the journey home to the magnificence of you.
One way to get started on your path to forgiveness is to use a guided meditation to awaken and unfold your heart’s love and compassion.
Originally published at medium.com