Heather Little-White, Contributor
You may be wondering why your relationship is struggling and you are having difficulty in getting along with your spouse. Are you angry with your partner and want revenge for your pain? It is difficult to maintain healthy loving relationships if you find it difficult to forgive. You may recall Nelson Mandela's words when asked why he was not resentful for his long imprisonment: "Resentment is like a glass of poison that a man drinks; then he sits down and waits for his enemy to die."
You have to examine your ability to forgive and put aside anger which makes you smaller, while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond where you are, says Cherie Carter-Scott. Forgiveness releases you from the pain of the past and moves you beyond those mistakes in the future.
Unconditional Love and Forgiveness
When you forgive, you are able to love your partner unconditionally, as there is an interrelationship between forgiveness and love - universal laws which allow you to be happy and live harmoniously with your spouse. Drawing on the principle of unconditional love, you will find it easier to forgive. There is no act of pain that cannot be forgiven.
Similarly, in your relationships where there is some dispute with your spouse, if you perfect the art of forgiveness, it will be easier to co-exist in the same space without rancour and tension. If you practise forgiveness, you will be physically healthy and you can evolve to greater levels of success and spiritual freedom.
I draw on my own experience when I was shot 13 years ago in a carjacking attempt in Kingston. Though paralysed almost instantly, I forgave my young attackers immediately and so I have been able to heal emotionally to cope with the challenge of being in a wheelchair. I continually give thanks for being alive. I have found that having forgiveness makes it is easier to live in harmony with all people. With my current work with inner-city youth, I have never had the slightest thought of condemning any of the young men whom I meet.
The experience of forgiveness is refreshing and you feel the physical and emotional release, shedding the weight of resentment and re-energising the body with fresh new energy. You feel as though your tattered personal boundaries are removed and you feel inspired to move forward in a positive light.
Unconditional love can be understood as an act of mental will in which you choose to see the good in a person or situation. It is also an interpersonal experience as a divine energy that freely extends itself to all beings without expectation, condition, or demand. This energy fosters blessing, goodwill, and optimal thriving for both the person who gives and those receives this love.
Partners will ask how do you really let go of something that hurts so much? According to Diana, how do you forgive your spouse when you discover that he has been unfaithful, having a mistress on whom he spends lavishly and leaves you to struggle with family expenses? Understandably, when you are hurt, it is difficult to even think of forgiveness even though you want to feel better.
You will feel that if you forgive someone who hurt you, you may feel that you are setting yourself up for more hurt. You may also feel that if you forgive, you will be condoning a wrongful act that the person may repeat. However, you will know when you are ready to forgive - when you get tired of thinking about the hurt and struggling with the pain and finally having the need to find peace.
When you forgive someone, you will have to do the thorough and gritty work that goes into releasing the trauma from the past. You then re-establish our connection with the spiritual source which allows us to feel relieved and on new ground.
Adapted from The Peaceful Heart by Mary Hayes Grieco
There is an easy seven-step model for forgiveness developed by Dr Edith Stauffer, which helps people heal from hurt - large or small.
1. State your willingness to make a change in attitude.
2. Express your emotions about what happened.
3. Cancel the expectation(s) you are holding in your mind, acknowledging reality and your willingness to move on, releasing your expectations with words and inner letting go.
4. Open up to the universe to receive exactly what you need and visualise yourself in your personal space. Do not limit yourself by setting boundaries.
5. Send unconditional love to the person you want to forgive.
6. See the good in them or in the situation.
7. Notice the physical change and take time to gently integrate it.
Share the painful emotion of your experience with a compassion person. These may include baffling life experiences like:
Forgiving the death of a six-year old son in a violent home accident.
Forgiving a father for chronic incest as a child.
Forgiving a man for suddenly divorcing his wife and leaving her with a miserable alimony and custody contract.
A new husband in a strange state of emotional isolation for months.
A fiancee who had an affair with your best friend three weeks before your marriage.
The act of forgiveness
The act of forgiveness requires your personal input for the best release.
1. Establish the will to forgive and take some quiet time to reflect.
2. Talk out your problem to allow your misery to surface for release.
3. Raise your emotional level and see well in yourself.
4. Visualise yourself at a higher place and meditate on the qualities of peace, wisdom and compassion, among others.
5. Forgive the person who hurt you and release the person from your burden. Speak words of comfort and when you feel complete, make a statement like, "I forgive you completely" or "I release you from your shame."
6. Give thanks for the forgiveness and take in your new perspective and feelings of relief.