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                 Anger and Forgiveness

    Part 2 Accepting and Resolving our Anger

                   Learning to Forgive

 

 Sometimes however, you do not need to be in contact with the person. Maybe you actually cannot be in contact with them. In this situation you may be able to see very clearly what they have done wrong and you are angry. This is natural. There is strength in anger. Your anger is saying you have no intention in allowing this person to treat you in this way. I believe we have a need to feel this anger and be aware of what it is telling us. However a time comes when we want to be able to let go of the anger and that time will differ depending on the person and the situation. Sometimes it may take a long time, others less. We have this anger and we have felt it and we have been able to see clearly how the other person has acted but they do not acknowledge that they have done anything wrong. How, oh how can we forgive them?

Some people suggest you just forgive, other people quite honestly say, "Sorry, that doesn't work. Just saying I 'should' forgive someone, does not make it happen!" How do we move into the arena of forgiveness when all the time we are thinking "I want to make sure that person is never able to do that to anyone else!".

If there is a lawful way that you can correct the situation then you can try that. I do however feel a need to make a proviso here. Clearly if someone has managed somehow or other to steal your money, it is correct to try and get it back. Likewise if someone is a danger to others then they need to be somewhere which will keep society safe but I do not subscribe to the revenge tactics built into most of our justice systems. This page is after all on forgiveness and while it is morally correct that a person right their wrongs an attitude of forgiveness does not seek revenge. Understanding the process by which some people 'fall by the wayside' and harm others can be of great help in allowing us to move into forgiveness. I highly recommend checking out the Boston Research Centre. Restorative Justice Seminar Series. Seminar 1.Exploring the Healing Paradigm: Victims, Perpetrators, and Accountability.

Forgiveness means that you yourself will not hold any malice towards that person and in doing this you free yourself from a great deal of the harm the person did to you. Without forgiveness we cannot move on. Forgiveness works and forgiveness heals the person who forgives. How do we move into a place where we can forgive?

We do not move into this place by pretending we have forgiven when we have not. But we can move into it by deliberately asking for the help and guidance from a deeper part of ourselves (or God, if that is your orientation). We accept our feelings but begin to acknowledge that we would like to be able to forgive. It is after all no fun living with hate and malice. Then, depending on our orientation we can say something like, 'I can't forgive this person God, it is up to you' or 'I cannot forgive this person but I am willing to be able to'. I must say that in this particular instance the concept 'God' is a very helpful one, because we are not yet ready to forgive and yet we are acknowledging we do not want to live with this anger and resentment for ever. The point is, whatever your belief in spirituality or any higher power use that. You could say, My conscious mind does not want to forgive but I am willing for my unconscious mind to do it, or My ego does not want to forgive but I would be grateful if my true self did! You are in this situation, being totally honest. You are not denying your feelings, though you may have come to the conclusion that the anger has probably done as much as it can and you would like to move on.

Once you have begun this when you feel your anger and possibly bitterness to the person coming on, say again, I cannot forgive this person, will you God, true self or whatever or whoever you have chosen. Don't try to manipulate the situation. If you tell yourself you must forgive the person it won't work. Just notice when the anger and memories are beginning to stir and tell whatever you are using to help you, that you are feeling the anger again, you cannot forgive the person, can they? Just do this and then let go. Keep doing this and in time you will find that you have begun to forgive them. You will have healed yourself from the negativity their act had on you.

Forgiveness heals the person who forgives. I have used this technique and have found it works. It works with no need for pretence. I believe it works because we are getting our unconscious mind on our side. Our unconscious mind to a large extent believes whatever we tell it. It is however more than just getting in touch with our unconscious. By letting go and focusing our attention by asking for help, we get in touch with an inner aspect of ourselves which we can call our higher self or true self. Until now all we have been doing is reliving the incident and this incident is unresolvable on its own terms. What the person has done may indeed have been very wrong, but once we have done everything we can to right the situation, the only thing left is to forgive. For some reason this person acted in the manner they did. Like it or not the reason is because at some time something happened which harmed them and they have not as yet managed to heal this. Now, we may not be able to change that, indeed given that they have harmed us, the chances of us being able to heal them unless they acknowledge the wrong they have done is virtually nil. But when we forgive them, they can no longer harm us and we ourselves do not join in the on going saga of 'I have been hurt so I am going to hurt someone else'. We free ourselves and our energy from what they have done to us and allow ourselves to become alive and conscious in our activity. We may be surprised to discover that although we will never accept that what they did was acceptable, with time we may even feel compassion for them .. I know that may take some imagination at the beginning but it is in no way impossible. We get in touch with a deeper, wiser part of ourselves and instead of anger and hate we feel warmth inside and that warmth nourishes us and those we are close to. The next time we feel angry, then just feel it. We all need all our feelings but we don't need to harm others.

Holding a grudge against someone, even with the very best of reasons, blocks us. This technique if you feel able to use it sincerely, does work. However, if you are going through a great deal of anger and hate because of how you have been treated and you feel unable to try this, then I do recommend finding a good counsellor to help you work through the situation, be able to let go, free your energy and get on with your life with a renewed and increased feeling of aliveness.

 "An eye for an eye will only leave the world blind"
                           Mahatma Gandhi

If you are having problems with your anger in general please see Anger Management or Rage

 

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