Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on May 18, 2018

How to Forgive and Live a Happy Life Again (A Step-By-Step Guide)

How to Forgive and Live a Happy Life Again (A Step-By-Step Guide)

We’ve all experienced unmet expectations and painful experiences. Though, when we hang onto them, we keep ourselves from soaring and enjoying our precious lives. Instead, we’re weighed down by pain and the burden of feeling betrayed. But it’s possible to let go, and I’m here to tell you that there is no better time than now for sacred personal healing.

In this article, I will share with you how by being forgiving, you can lead a happier life again. I’ll also show you the exact steps you can take to forgive someone who has hurt you.

Why it seems so difficult to forgive

I often see people stumble and get stuck on a loop because they believe that if they forgive, it will be as if the initial hurt or betrayal never happened. People that have been hurt feel that when someone has done something wrong, they should not be able to get away with it.

But that is simply not true. We don’t forgive someone else for their benefit, and we don’t try to pretend that nothing happened. Instead, we forgive for ourselves. We do it so that we can move beyond that hurt.

Another reason why it may feel hard to forgive is that we could perceive the act of forgiving as a betrayal to ourselves in some way, or we could feel that by forgiving we could be exposing ourselves to be vulnerable and get hurt again.

The hurt and wounds can leave feelings of bitterness, resentment, and anger for years. We can get to the point that we feel like victims because of what others did to us. When we feel like victims, our feelings are not protecting us, but are rather harming us. We find ourselves locked in emotional prisons filled with hurt. How can we live happy and expansive lives from that place?

The importance of learning to forgive

There are medical studies that show the link between forgiveness and health. Karen Swartz, a psychiatrist from Johns Hopkins Medicine shared that “There is an enormous physical burden to being hurt and disappointed”. She also stated that chronic anger puts you into a fight-or-flight mode, which results in numerous changes in heart rate, blood pressure and immune response. Those changes, then, increase the risk of depression, heart disease and diabetes, among other conditions.

Advertising

Forgiveness, however, can lead to lower stress and anxiety levels, less depression, healthier and closer relationships, a healthier heart, lower levels of blood pressure, lower levels of physical pain, better sleep, better immune system function, and more. It’s very simple, by forgiving, we heal from the inside out!

Until we forgive, we are the ones paying the highest price. Our trapped emotions can become so overwhelming that they affect our current relationships and our ability to authentically and lovingly connect with ourselves and others. Only when we truly forgive will we be free of pain, hurt, and anger. If we hold onto them, we won’t be able to enjoy the present—and they will affect our health in many ways.

Here’s the thing: by forgiving, we won’t pretend that the initial hurt or betrayal never happened, we’re actually doing ourselves a favor. The person you forgive will still have their own karmic debt for all of their actions.

However, when we forgive, we’re becoming free. When we’re focused on resentments towards others or even ourselves, we won’t be able to listen to our soul’s messages. When we let go, we can tune in more deeply.

Forgiveness takes courage because beneath our personal story of pain and suffering, we always have the choice to access our wholeness, and to tap into our innate joy and compassion. Eventually, we will liberate our heart from the resentment prison, and we will be open to a new way of being and living that we might only dream of right now.

    How to forgive someone who has hurt you (Step-by-step guide)

    “Forgiveness is a conscious decision and a state of mind that we can cultivate through daily practice.” Here are some easy to follow steps that you can take to start your forgiveness journey:

    Advertising

    1. Connect with your emotions

    Honor where you are in this moment, without judgement. Be gentle with yourself and take ownership of everything that comes up. Just be with the experience without blaming anyone. Something that you could do is to write down your thoughts and feelings on a piece of paper, so that you can get clear on what they are.

    Next, ask yourself what is it that you can do to find an outlet and work through those emotions: it could be going out for a walk, spending time in nature, doing something creative (paint, draw, color a mandala, sing, play music, etc), writing a Forgiveness Letter, getting help from a counselor or coach.

    2. Release the past

    In order to move forward in our lives, one of the key things we must do is release the past and live in the present moment. We often carry the past with us—and if we’re not aware of this, the past will weigh us down, and we will feel stuck. Without a regular practice of releasing, we develop a backlog of unprocessed emotions, and mental clutter. This clouds our vision, and can make it difficult to see the next steps towards a happier life.

    Practice living in the present moment by sitting quietly and observing your breathing, or simply going outside and appreciating the beauty around you now.

    You could also use journaling as another resource to be more present. You could ask yourself these questions as journaling prompts to help you release your trapped emotions: Who would I be without the anger, hurt, and resentment? How would my life be different?

    3. Take your power back

    Start writing a new story for yourself. You were not born a victim and forgiveness is not a one-time experience; you have to commit to keep choosing it over and over again. No one has the power to make you feel uneasy without your consent.

    When the familiar hurtful feelings come back, remind yourself that you are choosing to forgive; you choose to take your power back, and you are choosing love. I have used this affirmation myself, and it has been very helpful:

    Advertising

    “Today is the perfect time for me to take my power back, because I love myself enough to let go of those old memories and emotions. I choose to be free and happier NOW”

    The willingness to change needs to come from deep inside of us. We find it when we begin to believe that having joyful, purposeful lives, full of loving and meaningful relationships is our birthright.

    4. Embrace the lesson

    Every experience we have is a learning experience. Sometimes we go through fire, but I can tell you that we come out stronger than before.

    Even if we think that what happened to us is unfair, those experiences are part of our spiritual growth here on the planet. If we’re open to see it, those dark times transform us and help us see new perspectives and insights. I have seen many people experience hard times, which have been the catalyst to creating a new and inspiring story for themselves.

    5. Send love and light

    Once you’ve gone through the steps above, you’ll be able to start sending love to the people that hurt you. I know it is hard at the beginning, but this is a game changer! Instead of sending bad vibes to the people that hurt you, send them love and light. When you do this, there is no emotional debt between you and them, and you can celebrate your own freedom with a grateful heart!

    As part of the forgiveness process, you also need to forgive yourself. We may have judgments about our own expectations. We may think about what should have or could have been.

    However, when we forgive, we have to give up the idea that the past should have or could have been different or better. We can’t change the past, so we should not let the past hold us prisoners. Instead, we need to see the hidden value of what happened, there’s always a lesson. As we develop that clarity, we free ourselves from the past and begin to look forward.

    Advertising

    Start forgiving now

    Forgiving helps us to keep our energy clear.

    When we embrace forgiveness, we also embrace peace, hope, gratitude, joy, and general well-being. As we embrace it, we also embrace who we are—love. When we forgive, we are retaking power and control over our own lives.

    Forgiveness gives us freedom. Otherwise, we live carrying that emotional debt with us.

    Start forgiving with the steps I mentioned above and you will also start living a happier life.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    More by this author

    Patricia Young

    Certified Professional & Holistic Coach, bestselling author, host of the Awakening to Life podcast

    How the Power of Positive Thinking Can Pay Off in Your Career How to Forgive and Live a Happy Life Again (A Step-By-Step Guide) Why Some People Have a Lack of Empathy (And How to Deal with Them) The Guided Morning Meditation for Beginners (That Will Change Your Day)

    Trending in Mental Strength

    1Why Giving up Is Not an Option (And How to Stay Motivated) 2How a Gratitude Journal and Positive Affirmations Can Change Your Life 320 Coping Skills That Will Help You During Times of Stress 4How to Calm Down Anxiety When Your Brain is in Overdrive 5How to Help a Friend With Depression Learn to Love Life Again

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on August 20, 2018

    60 Things To Be Thankful For In Life

    60 Things To Be Thankful For In Life

    Sometimes it’s easier to focus on what we don’t have, rather than what we do have. It’s important to take time out and remember all of the things to be thankful for that many of us take for granted.

      Here you’ll find 60 very solid things to be thankful for in your everyday life. These are great reminders for you to treasure everything you have.

      1. Good Health

      Even if you’re health isn’t great, it could be worse and you likely still have some working parts to be thankful for.

      2. Money in the Bank

      Having just a few coins makes you richer than most people on Earth.

      3. Good Friends

      Often, it’s the quality of friendships, not the quantity.

      4. Freedom of Religion

      Being able to worship whomever and however you want is something many people don’t ever experience.

      5. Your Parents

      Even if they’re dysfunctional, they gave you life.

      6. Weekends

      There’s something magical about weekends.

      7.Having a Partner

      Being in a romantic relationship can teach you so much about the world and yourself.

      8. Pets

      Pets offer one of the best examples of unconditional love.

      9. Learning from Mistakes

      If we never made mistakes, we wouldn’t learn much so it is one of those things we should be thankful for.

      10. Opportunity to Get an Education

      The opportunity to attend school is something many people don’t have.

      Advertising

      11. Having a Home

      Whether you live in an apartment, a mansion, or a tent, having a place to call home is something to be thankful for.

      12. An Ability to Read

      If you’re reading this right now, you have a lot to be thankful for.

      13. Breathing Fresh Air

      Being able to step outside to breathe in fresh air is a good reminder how many little things we should be thankful for.

      14. A Bed to Sleep

      A bed is one of those things that’s easy to take for granted, until you don’t have one.

      15. Laughter

      Without laughter, the world would be a sad place.

      16. Safety and Security

      Being able to wake up without immense fear frees us up to really live life.

      17. Cars

      Without cars, it would take a lot longer to get our activities done.

      18. Sunshine

      The sun’s warmth can brighten any day.

      19. Time

      Although we often don’t think there’s enough of it, time is something we shouldn’t take for granted.

      20. Clean Water

      Many people on earth lack access to clean water.

      21. Cell Phones

      Cell phones make talking to loved ones easy.

      22. Love

      The world sure would be a different place if we lacked the ability to love.

      23. Books

      Books provide an opportunity to enter another world all from the comfort of your own home.

      Advertising

      24. Kindness of Strangers

      Never take the kindness of a stranger for granted.

      25. Campfires

      The simplicity of a campfire creates lifelong memories.

      26. Pain

      Without pain, it would be difficulty to appreciate life’s joys.

      27. Art

      The world would be less beautiful if art didn’t exist.

      28. Holidays

      Any reason to celebrate is something we should be thankful for.

      29. Freedom of Speech

      Being able to express your thoughts and feelings freely should never be taken for granted.

      30. Rainbows

      The beauty of a rainbow is unmatched.

      31. Tears

      Sometimes when there are no words to say, tears express how we feel for us.

      32. Waking up Today

      Simply waking up today means you have things to be thankful for.

      33. Indoor Plumbing

      Indoor plumbing not only provides convenience, it spares us from disease.

      34. Wisdom that Comes with Age

      Thankfully, we grow smarter over time.

      35. Mountains

      Mountains provide us with beauty and recreation.

      36. Eyesight

      Being able to see allows us to view the world’s beauty.

      Advertising

      37. Grocery Stores

      Grocery stores mean we don’t have to spend all of our time getting our own food.

      38. Sunsets

      Sunsets are a reminder that we should enjoy the simple things in life.

      39. Entertainment

      Entertainment gives us a way to relax and enjoy life.

      40. Your Mind

      Being able to think, remember, and solve problems sure makes life easier.

      41. Employment

      Even if you don’t like your job, being employed means someone thought you were special enough to hire.

      42. Diversity

      The world would be a boring place without diversity.

      43. Moon and Stars

      The moon and stars encourage us to dream.

      44. Electricity

      Electricity makes most of our chores efficient.

      45. Air Conditioning

      Staying cool on a hot day is something people wouldn’t have dreamed about in past centuries.

      46. Hearing

      Being able to hear your loved one’s voice is something that not everyone gets to do.

      47. Children

      Watching children laugh, grow, and dream can keep things in perspective.

      48. Ability to Learn

      The ability to learn new things means we have endless potential.

      49. People Willing to Teach

      Whether it’s your grandmother teaching you to knit or your plumber showing you how to prevent future problems, be grateful that others are willing to use their time and talents to teach you something new.

      Advertising

      50. Oceans

      The sea creatures in the ocean almost seem too mystical to be real.

      51. Modern Medicine

      Without advances in modern medicine, many of us wouldn’t be alive.

      52. Music

      Music brings out new emotions.

      53. Entrepreneurs

      Some of life’s best inventions resulted from an entrepreneur who was willing to take a risk.

      54. Warm Clothing

      On a cold day, there’s nothing more important than warm clothing.

      55. Freedom to Vote

      Being able to have a say in the laws should never be taken for granted.

      56. An Internet Connection

      It’s hard to believe how easy it is to take the internet for granted, seeing how none of us had just a couple of decades ago.

      57. Challenges

      Without challenges in life, we wouldn’t be the people we are now.

      58. Hiking Trails

      Hiking trails give us the chance to enjoy mother’s nature beauty.

      59. Vaccines

      Many of us wouldn’t be alive without today’s vaccinations.

      60. Armed Forces

      Our lives would likely be very different if we didn’t have protection from the armed forces.

      Realizing all the things you should be thankful for is the first step, practicing gratitude is what you should start doing:

      6 Ways To Implement More Gratitude In Your Life

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Read Next