Today I want to look at the process of forgiving another person.
You might say to yourself – Why should I forgive a person who caused me pain? Especially if they are exactly the same now as when they caused you pain? What good will it do?
But…when you do not forgive the feelings that are stored in your body are anger, irritability, bitterness and perhaps even revenge. Your poor body. What strong feelings to carry!
When you are angry, bitter and resentful, you are not in a place of peace. You are energetically stuck from moving forward in life. You’re also not a joy to be around. When you choose not to forgive, you choke yourself on your own bile. You stress your own heart and you might even develop psychosomatic symptoms.
It is important not to mistake forgiveness with allowing yourself to be abused or badly treated. Forgiveness is not choosing to be weak.
Just because you forgive someone, does not mean that you should…
Let people physically hurt you
Let people cross your boundaries
Let people disrespect you
Let someone harass you
Excuse bad behavior
Allow yourself to be a martyr
Why is it Hard to Forgive?
Some people never forgive. You can see it on their faces. You can see it in their mood swings and behavior. You can see it in the look of distaste and disgust that comes over their face when they talk about the past.
Sophie, a client of mine talks about her childhood…
My father was a gambler. My mother walked out on him when I was eleven years of age. I became the cleaner, the cook and the caretaker of my father and younger sister. I left school at sixteen to bring more money into the home. I used to hide the money in a cookie jar at the back of the kitchen cupboard. I am now forty years of age, with my own family. My father is still gambling, and I have mostly cut him out of my life. I cannot forgive him. I hate him. I think of him a lot. When I think of him, I feel full of rage and end up getting a splitting headache.
Kim also cannot forgive, and it also affects her physically…
I was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome when I was in my early fifties. It was around the time my mother died. I hated her in life, and I still hate her. She ruined my life. She never loved me or showed me affection. Everything was always about her. Now, I want to shout at her and hit her the way she used to hit me, but I cannot because she is dead and gone. My counselor said my internalized anger is affecting my bowels. Maybe it is true, but I will never forgive her.
Melanie explained it well…
One day I realized that I was suffering because of all the rage and anger inside. Why should I bloody suffer? I’ve suffered enough. I want that person out of my head and heart. Let them live their life, and let me live mine. I want to feel at peace. I don’t want to feel this pain anymore. I want to let go and feel free.
These three people above learned over time that not forgiving, was only harming themselves.
Why should I forgive?
First of all, let’s change the word forgive to ‘letting go’ because forgiveness might feel like a heavy word.
When we forgive, what we are actually doing is letting go of our negative emotional connections to another. We are letting go. We are choosing to let go.
It is simple.
If you don’t let go, YOU suffer.
If you don’t let go, YOU carry a burden on your shoulders.
If you don’t let go, YOU constantly carry the emotions of anger, hatred and bitterness in your body, mind and soul.
So the only REAL person suffering here is YOU.
You are a victim of your emotions as long as you choose not to let go. The person who has harmed you may be long gone from your life, but they still have a hold on you. All the energy you put into the anger and hatred is wasted energy. Imagine what you could do with that energy if it was freed up?
Why would you hold onto the pain? Why would you hold onto bitterness and resentment? Why? What are the benefits of holding on to heavy emotions? Do the benefits outweigh the pain you feel? Do you want to be bitter about events that happened ten, twenty, sixty years ago? When are you going to let go?
Learning to Forgive with Tarot
For the vast majority of people, forgiveness is not instant, it takes time. The time frame can be days, weeks, months, years or decades.
You must be ready to let go and forgive. You have to really want to forgive, not simply make a cognitive decision to do so.
Forgiveness is a choice, and only you can make that choice when the time is right.
Forcing yourself to forgive, before you are ready, will not work. It can, in fact, be traumatic.
Exercise: The Major Arcana Let Go Ritual
What you will need:
1) Your favorite Tarot deck
2) A picture of yourself and the person you want to forgive. If you do not have a photo of the two of you together try and find a photo of yourself at the time you had a relationship/interaction with this person and a photo of the other person. If you do not have a photograph of the other person then you can draw a picture of you both standing next to each other.
4) Try to do this ritual from the time of the Full moon as it wanes to the Dark Moon.
Get your favorite Tarot deck and separate out the Major Arcana cards from the Minor Arcana cards.
Put aside the Minor Arcana cards – you will not need them for this exercise.
Think of a person who hurt you deeply.
Think about what happened. How you felt.
Now go through the Major Arcana cards and pick ONE card that you feel represents this person / event most.
Take this card and put the rest to one side.
Now, I want you to imagine that this card represents the person who hurt you. I want you to start talking to this card out loud. You might feel a little crazy talking to a card but please try. Allow yourself to feel the emotions. Say WHATEVER you need to say. If you feel free to, shout, scream and yell at the card.
Next pick up the picture of you and the person you want to forgive together. If you do not have a photograph of you both together you can draw a picture of you both standing next to each other.
Get scissors and cut the photo/picture in two, so that you and the other person/s are now separate.
Put the two pieces of the photo back together and place it somewhere you can see it on a daily basis. It may be on your kitchen counter, your bedroom window sill or your chest of drawers.
Each day, move the two pieces of the cut photo/picture a little farther apart.
Each time you move the pictures, say to yourself, out loud:
“I am breaking my ties to you. I let go of the emotions I carry inside about you”
Do it slowly, over weeks.
Give yourself at least a month to complete this ritual.
Eventually, the two pieces of the photo will be lying far from each other.
When you are ready (at least a month after you started), pick up the picture of the other person and burn or rip it – letting go once and for all.
Keep the picture of you.
Draw a love heart on the picture of you and put it someone prominent where you will see it every day. Leave it there for a few months.
This ritual and the specific Tarot card gives your subconscious a symbolic gesture to integrate the change. You are telling your subconscious that you are letting go of the other person; you are moving away from them energetically. You are forgiving.
I have seen this simple exercise bring up a lot of grief and anger so be gentle with yourself and allow yourself to acknowledge the feelings, without trying to suppress them.
If you do this ritual consciously, your life will change for the better and you will feel lighter and more free.
Remember that holding onto all that negative energy takes up space.
Imagine what you can do and who you can be if you set yourself free.