Beliefnet
Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

This is post 41 in my series on the Law of Attraction in Action. You CAN use your power to attract all that you need. I do it every day! Read the posts in this series to see how.

I often mention forgiveness as a good thing to do. I was thinking about how forgiving people sets the Law of Attraction onto a good course. Many people say in anger, “I’ll never forgive [person]!” But what does that tell the Universe? That you’re angry, which keeps the anger alive. It also keeps the person you won’t forgive on your mind.

It’s hard to forgive someone who hurt you. When you’re wounded on the inside, the mental pain can make you angry. Forgiving the person may seem like a gift for them. But you don’t forgive to make the one who did you wrong feel better.

You forgive for YOU. Forgiving is a loving gift for you.

When I was a DoorMat, I believed that if I let people get away with being wrong, I was forgiving them. But I wasn’t. I just couldn’t say anything. I was cutting them slack but it made them feel better, not me. I always felt anger churning, which made me feel lousy about myself. Now that I consciously forgive people, my anger level is way down. I still don’t like some actions but I’ve become wiser and feel more positive now.

Isabelle Holland said, “As long as you don’t forgive, who and whatever it is will occupy rent-free space in your mind.”

Holding onto bad feelings fuels aggravation. Forgiving lightens anger. If you don’t forgive, you give others power to ruin your day (or life). You keep them in your mind and relive whatever they did when you think of them. Thinking about them attracts more aggravation, or more incidents with the person you didn’t forgive.

Unresolved issues creates emotional baggage—the negative feelings you carry around with you. Forgiving unpacks the baggage and puts it away.

Forgiving someone who did something you consider really bad is a powerful and brave act. It’s easy for me to recommend doing it but it’s very hard to do when emotions make you want to hurt the person back, not forgive. It means stepping beyond what they did to understand this person is probably unhappy, wounded or has problems from past experiences that makes him or her do things that aren’t nice. I learned from the Dalai Lama that when people hurt you, they’re really hurting themselves. People do negative things when they’re unhappy or hurting so you should have compassion fort them, not anger.

Now I can often replace my anger with compassion. Doing this has GREATLY reduced how often I get angry, and made it easier to forgive.

Do you associate forgiving with forgetting? Not! Nor does forgiving condone or accept the action or behavior you forgive. You forgive the person’s distorted view of right and wrong or the pain that drove them to hurt you. You’re forgiving the PERSON for their shortcomings, the issue behind what they did to you, not the negative action or behavior itself. Compassion for why they do negative things makes it a little easier.

Separate the person from the action. “I forgive you but what you did was wrong.” Forgive, take responsibility, and respond differently in the future, or stay away from the person if you can.

People who feel good about themselves and who are happy don’t consciously hurt people. It’s the people with issues who do. There are many levels of forgiveness, depending on what the person did:

* If something unacceptable happens once, forgive the person and let it go if he or she acknowledges what was done and apologizes.
* If the behavior is repeated, warn the person that it’s unacceptable, which means that things will be different in the future.
*If unacceptable behavior is ongoing, forgive but remember enough to cut your ties or set stronger boundaries.
* If the behavior intolerable cut the person out of your life and forgive from a distance.

You can forgive in your heart and never speak again to someone who hurts you. The person doesn’t have to know you forgave. Sometimes there’s a lot to forgive and it can take time to really feel forgiving when you do it in your heart. In the past, anger churned in me for months after. But once I forgive in my heart, I let it go.

How do you forgive someone in your heart? I like to write a letter to the person telling them exactly how I feel about what they did. All the pain and anger. I write and write until I can’t think of another thing to say. Then I read it out loud as if the person were there. I express all my emotions, cry, sometimes yell. Then I say they must be hurting to do this and I forgive them for their hurtful actions. Then I burn the letter. As it goes up in smoke, so does my anger. Without the anger I can let it go.

When you forgive someone in your heart, light a candle and feel its warmth. Give thanks for the blessing of being able to forgive. It truly is a blessing.

Being able to forgive has added to my happiness immeasurably. Even if people aren’t fair, forgive them – for you, not them! It’s a relief to reduce the weight of anger. Remember it’s for you, and for the Universe to send the right message to the Law of Attraction. What does it attract—PEACE.

See all the Law of Attraction in Action Series..

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