Forgiving: A Strength; A Therapy

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We all face certain mental blocks and fears to try new things, specially in areas where we have faced embarrassment or disappointment earlier. The reason behind the block is not the embarrassment it self, but the bad feeling or anger on the situation or the person responsible for the embarrassment (Could be either oneself or some other person). One of a mature ways to get rid of the hesitation or block would be to forgive the situation or person we perceive is responsible for the earlier unpleasant experience.

Forgiving is, as all of us perceive a challenging action. One might say “it’s easier said than done” but conquering this challenging job could release one from mental blocks and many other negative thoughts and feelings and enhance positiveness in one’s mind. A positive mindset is after all to key to success – both personal and professional.

When we forgive others, it also gives us the space and opportunity to identify and acknowledge our own flaws and weaknesses and gives us a path to accept and rectify them. Forgiving is an act of a strong person as it’s more challenging to forgive when one is hurt rather than staying angry on the other person/ situation – as Mahatma Gandhi quotes “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

Taking an instance, A teacher from high school comments on a student’s scores and presentation skills. As the student grows up (s)he gets a mental block to take up any competitive exam or deliver presentations. The reason behind the hesitation is the grudge (s)he is carrying on the teachers words. The best way for her/him to overcome the block is to let go of the feeling of embarrassment and forgive the teacher. This way (s)he gets a space to identify her own strengths and areas of improvement and move towards learning and developing.

In the above instance, how does one forgive someone who is still not in touch?

Forgiving need not be directly going to the person and saying “I forgive you”! Sometimes the other person would not be aware that they have hurt us. What one can do is, think of the person, what he/she told, the situation, and one’s feeling in that situation and mentally let go of the feeling and say to the person in the mind, “you may have knowingly or unknowingly hurt me! I forgive you and move on”! This activity might take few repeats till one feels they have finally let go of the feelings and ready to break through the challenge of facing exams and presentations without hesitation (referring to the instance)

Another way of forgiving would be, directly going and talking to the person (if he/she is available) and clearing it all out with them and finally forgiving. Another way could be writing down in the diary / personal journal about the person, situation, and one’s feeling.

Here one could also add the perceived reason behind the feeling, alternative reasons behind the other person’s actions, and the changed feeling considering the alternative reason. – Taking the above instance, the teacher could have commented keeping in mind encouragement for the student to pull up his/her socks and perform better rather than putting the student’s confidence down. Considering this reason behind the teacher’s comments, the feeling could be changed and written as “motivated” “need to improve and grow”… which will help one in breaking through the ice and coming up the ladder.

There could be any situation, person causing mental blocks in people and using these techniques of forgiving would help as a therapy for overcoming and liberating oneself from fears and blocks and come across as a more free and positive person!

To conclude, let’s all keep in mind this quote of Martin Luther King Jr, “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid the power to forgive is devoid the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover it, we are less prone to hate our enemies”. He also quotes “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that!”- and that spreads mental freedom and positive mindset!

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