On Finding Peace After Anger
When it comes to forgiveness, it's sometimes difficult to practice what I preach. When I find myself momentarily caught up in a moment, in a flash of sudden anger or resentment, all those old feelings of a past hurt wash over me.
But the thing is.... I've learned, thru a LOT of self reflection and mediation, how to let go of those feelings before they consume me. I'm not saying that being angry is wrong, because we are only human, after all. We have our weaknesses and being angry is natural. What I have learned is not to allow another person's hate hold a POWER over me. When you take away that hold, you take away the power.
My life is too precious and valuable to waste away in anger. Sometimes, I have to remind myself of that because, like I said, it's easy to get caught up in a moment.
How do I remind myself to be the better person, and to release any baggage?
1. Don't dwell!! Keep yourself busy, surround yourself with only people who bring out the best in you, and try your best to move on. Easier said than done, right?
2. Remind yourself that you are only human, so is the other person. They have feelings just like you, and unless they are clinically crazy, they probably (on some level) have regrets for their behavior. But they let their pride get in the way - and that's THEIR problem.
3. Know that every person struggles with forgiveness, even the person who hurt you! If it were so easy, we'd all be doing it, and there wouldn't be countless articles on the topic. You are not alone in your struggle. You are only human after all!!! (see reminder #2).
4. Talk to someone who will listen without judging. Venting in a safe and nonjudgemental environment can do wonders for moving on! Sometimes all we want to do is get it out.
5. Journal. Writing down my feelings in a private journal or blog is another amazing way I can vent out any residual feelings.
6. Verbalize your forgiveness. A very important step toward staying on the side of forgiveness is a tough one: actually say OUT LOUD that you forgive a person. It can be in the privacy of your own home, when you are alone, looking in a mirror, or sitting on the sofa. Take a moment to compose yourself, and say strongly that you forgive. I've learned that saying it out loud makes the act of forgiveness "real." Say their name, say how you forgive them (in DETAIL, what you forgive them for) and move on with your day.
Now, here's the hard part: It only took once to hurt us, but it can take hundreds or thousands of moments of actively trying to forgive before it actually comes true in our hearts. Each moment you have to remind yourself to forgive, is another moment that the hurt comes back. So, you almost feel like you've been hurt over and over again.
Know that the way another person feels about you or treats you is NOT your responsibility. Their own anger and hate is something THEY will have to learn to deal with. And while these dark feelings and actions are directed at you, it probably has nothing to do with you at all. It's a hurt in their own hearts that has manifested into this hate.
So pity them if you must, but forgive yourself for allowing them to hurt you in the first place.
What has helped me a lot, too, is reading articles and blogs about people's experiences with forgiveness. Quotes, sayings, post-it reminders for my fridge, etc has helped tremendously! If you say it enough you'll actually start to believe it!
50 Quotes on Forgiveness
30 Tips to Let Go of Anger
15 Things You Need to Give Up to Be Happy
7 Steps to Forgive
9 Steps to Forgiveness
How To Handle People Who are Angry at You