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A great Kabbalist known as the Ba’al Shem Tov said, “The way I behave towards the world and others is how the Light of the Creator behaves toward me.” When we are wronged by somebody and instead of harboring anger and hatred towards them we forgive them, all of the negative energy we have created is washed away.
Forgiveness allows us to reclaim our power from the people who have hurt us. Here are 6 tips to achieve forgiveness and help you remove resentment, blame and victim consciousness to get to a place of power and strength.
1. Take responsibility for your own feelings
To forgive does not mean to condone the bad things that have been done to us, but to take responsibility for our own feelings. Holding people accountable for their actions is not the same as blaming them for how we feel. For example, it is justified to hold an ex-spouse accountable to paying child support, but it is not justified to hold them accountable for our never finding love again. We should not depend on anybody else for our emotional well-being. We have the capacity and responsibility to shape our own lives. So when we blame another person for how we feel, we grant them power over our emotions.
2. Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?
The need to be right comes from a place of ego. It is through our mistakes that we can see what we need to work on, but our ego steps in and doesn’t allow us to forgive, even though we know that holding on to hurt harms us. When we err, it allows us to have empathy, imagination, conviction and courage. Wrongness is a vital part of how we learn to change, while needing to be right just keeps us stuck.
3. No expectations
In offering forgiveness, we may expect someone who wronged us to admit wrongdoing or apologize. However, if we are offering our forgiveness only to get an apology, we are coming from a place where we are trying to receive, not share. When we have an agenda, we are coming from ego, from the Desire to Receive for the Self Alone, which disconnects us from the Light.
4. Identify why you are holding on to resentment
Do you have expectations? Do you want an apology? Are you holding on to a story because you use it as your identity? Are you too scared to move forward in your life and take responsibility for yourself and holding on to this resentment and story to keep you safe?
5. Don’t shoot the messenger
The kabbalistic concept of tikun or correction teaches us that everything that happens to us in this world is exactly what we need in order to reach our next level. Growth and transformation lie within the challenges that arise in our relationships.
When we understand that someone “did something“ to us or “mistreated” us because it is necessary for our tikun and spiritual growth, it is much easier to forgive. Instead of allowing the initial ego based reaction of lashing out at the person who hurt you, Kabbalists actually embrace the opportunity knowing it is in their best interest. Everyone in our life is a messenger. Even if a person comes to us with the wrong intention, or with negativity, they are still bringing us a message showing us what we need to work on.
6. Scan the Zohar Portion of Miketz, Verse 186
Everything that happens to us is the effect of something we have done in our past or present lifetimes that we encounter to assist in our transformation. Our experiences are exactly what we need in each and every moment. Once we understand this, forgiveness for those who have “wronged” us is easy. In fact, vengeance will even be replaced by gratitude. Meditate on this section of the Zohar to awaken your ability for genuinely forgiving others.