It may seem that forgiveness is the job of the heart, but truly speaking forgiveness is a choice, a decision. So where do we make choices and decisions, The Mind.
Hence, forgiveness truly begins in the mind. Years of research and practice have proven that the mind is plastic and can be trained or programmed to achieve the desired output. So let us see how we can train our mind to forgive naturally.
The best and the most natural way to forgive is to train your mind to see the positive even in the worst situations.
Forgiveness is the virtue of the strong and the kind. The strong and kind people are people who possess the sensitivity to empathize with others and at the same time the strength to bear the pain that life throws at them. Each time learning the lessons and focusing on the message and not the messengers.
Human brain is naturally wired to pay more attention to negative experiences. In fact negative impact of setbacks is three times more powerful in affecting motivation than positive progress. We keep reliving the negative experience in our minds, much after its occurrence. This natural tendency very harmful for our psyche, relationships and happiness. And this is also what keeps us from forgiving.
The first step in the journey to training your mind to naturally forgive, is to fight this urge and break away from this degenerative thinking pattern. Remember, any painful event helps you grow. Practice looking for and being more aware of positive aspects of the experience. When you start thinking in this direction, it means you are now fighting the brain’s natural tendency to look for negatives.
A continuous and conscious pursuit to this approach will then, due to brain’s plasticity, make positive patterns more automatic. Continuity is the key, it will be the most difficult and unnatural-feeling at the beginning and yet the rewards will be worth it, if you stick to it. “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a permanent attitude.” Programming your brain by changing your thinking patterns is how you make it a permanent attitude.
If your mind wanders away practice mindfulness and meditation to steer it back.
But at the same time be conscious of the fact that if the wound is deep, the journey to forgiveness can take longer, and during this journey keeping a positive mindset all the time, may not be achievable. You may dip down into the negative realm many a times, feeling resent towards the people who put you there, it’s OK. Feel it for a while if you must, but then bring back your mind on to the positive track. The aim is to make these dips less frequent and shorter. The practice of mindfulness and meditation can really help with this. Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment without judgement. Opening our awareness beyond the narrowness of negativity can help bring back more balance and positivity into the picture.
Reflect back on forgiveness you received
We are all human and very much flawed. Many times we do things hurt others. There sure would have been times when you received forgiveness from someone. The only way to pay off forgiveness is to pass it on.
And above all remember, do not wait for an apology to forgive. Forgiveness is not something you do for others, forgiveness is something you practice for your own peace.
Forgive the messenger, embrace the message keep the event in memory just enough to alarm you in a similar situation again.
Remember “forgiving the other” and “your healing” are not the same, however forgiving will definitely accelerate your healing.