Mind & Body

To Forgive, Divine

Learning to forgive helps relieve feelings of depression and anxiety and increases a sense of optimism. Here, 6 ways to get started.

To Forgive, Divine
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6 steps of forgiving
If your magnanimity skills are rusty, try this step-by-step plan from D. Patrick Miller's A Little Book of Forgiveness: Challenges and Meditations for Anyone With Something to Forgive (Fearless Books; copyright (c) 2004 by D. Patrick Miller):
1. Select a bitter sorrow, a serious grievance against someone, or a punishing charge against yourself, and review it in complete detail.
2. Hold in your mind the image of whatever is to be forgiven--yourself, another person, a past event--and say, "I release you from the grip of my sadness, disapproval, or condemnation." Concentrate quietly on this intention.
3. Imagine for a while what your life will be like without the sorrow or grievance that has been haunting you.
4. Make amends with someone you've hurt or someone who has hurt you; tell a friend about your self-forgiveness; or otherwise bring your inner work to your relationships.
5. Ask for help from God, nature, humanity, and/or the mysteries of your own mind. These are the channels through which aid is sent--and aid is always sent.
6. Have patience. Forgiveness induces healing that follows its own order and timing. Whether you think you have accomplished anything thus far is less important than the fact you have attempted a radical act that will call forth change. Go about your business, but stay alert to unexpected shifts in your thinking, feelings, and relationships.