What is it to forgive? Is it even possible to really do it on the deepest emotional level where it has to happen to do any good? Most approaches to forgiveness are actually confrontational in nature, requiring an almost inhuman will and god-like consciousness to accomplish. But is this realistic? More importantly, are there really any emotional, psychological, physical, or spiritual benefits in forgiving? Or is it just an unrealistic religio-philosophical ideal?
It is my observation those clanging the Bell of Forgiveness typically have one approach. This is unfortunate because one approach to any problem is just "one size fits all" thinking: It is the proverbial box.
When it comes to something as important and potentially beneficial as forgiving some person or event or situation, we need to see real results. And not levy some guilt trip or judgement of inadequacy on a person because they might be the one size that doesn't fit.
If you are serious about getting free of some old emotional log chain tied around your legs, be prepared to face your monsters, but more importantly, to understand how those monsters have infected your core beliefs. And how your core beliefs perpetuate whatever it is you're shackled with: latent anger, depression, fear, addiction or addictive behavior, arrogance, lack of confidence and/or motivation, inability to focus and/or follow through, and so forth.
A) Way back when, something terrible happened.
B) That something made you feel bad, angry, sad, helpless, vulnerable, alone, victimized, betrayed, all of the above and more.
C) You developed painful feelings, which have sapped the vitality from your life.
D) You adapted your beliefs and behavior to either compensate for or accommodate A-C. (messy)
E) At some point in life, maybe years after the fact, you realized you've been robbed by all this
F) Someone comes along and gleefully shouts "Forgiveness is the Way to Salvation!"
G) You try to forgive but get nowhere because you've been told by the experts forgiveness is tough, confrontational, and takes years of therapy.
H) Because you're still looking at A the same way you did while living in B-D, the term Mexican Standoff takes on new meaning.
I) And so, the Endless Loop begins: Nothing changes.
The premise of this non-religious but spiritual approach goes something like this: Look for and find the Gift inside A, consider the meaning of it, when you accept the meaning, the Mexican will blink and your view of A will move off center, all on its own.
There is, of course, more to it than this and this is not the only technique you'll learn, but once you grab the underlying principles you'll see what a straightforward process it is to forgive. Not necessarily "fun in the moment of," emotionally speaking, but uncomplicated and liberating. You will learn to do this on your own.
These are spiritual techniques, not psychotherapy.