In the book, Sally in the Afterlife, during the main character, Sally’s life, forgiveness didn't come easy for her, but guess what? She learned in her afterlife that one of the reasons for living was to learn to forgive completely. And now, Sally wants to teach you about forgiveness with some help from Roberta Grimes (http://robertagrimes.com). If you learn how to forgive now, you won't have to wait until your afterlife to learn it, as Sally did.
If forgiveness was easy, everyone would do it, and it wouldn’t be such a huge deal, and we would all be happy. But it’s not easy, and lack of forgiveness stands in the way of happiness for many. The way some people treat others, they don't deserve to be forgiven. Let's face it. Some people are monsters. But in case you haven't heard, forgiveness isn't for other people. It's for you! And for the record, to forgive doesn't necessarily mean having a relationship with “that person” or condoning “that behavior,” it just means setting yourself free.
What in your life makes your blood boil and ruins your day every time you think about it? Can you imagine how much lighter your life would be if you no longer had to lug around your rage?
Once someone decides to let go of their anger and forgive, they often don't know the first steps to achieve such an arduous task and have no idea where to begin.
Roberta has written the most beautiful set of books called The Fun Of series. In her book, The Fun of Growing Forever, Roberta shares many helpful exercises on forgiveness. My favorite is the Forgiveness Balls exercise. It's simple yet effective.
Here it is, Roberta's Forgiveness Balls Exercise:
Think about a situation that is irritating you or making you so angry that you need to forgive it. Use your hands to form a ball in front of you and put in it everything about the situation. Include yourself, if necessary. Once you have everything contained in a ball, say out loud, "I forgive, and I release." As you say, "I release," push the ball out and away from you as you release the ball. The more feeling you put into the words you say, the better your results. If you're like me, you will feel lighter as you release your ball into the universe because it's not yours anymore; the universe has taken it from you, literally, right out of your hands. Wait a few minutes, and if you still feel angry, try it again.
If it’s people you want to forgive, wrap them up, and yourself, too, if necessary, into a ball with your hands in front of you and say out loud, "I love you, I bless you, I forgive, and I release." Just like with the situation ball, as you say, "I release," release the ball out and away from you into the universe. Wait a few minutes, and if you're still angry, repeat the process. Remember to put some emotion into the words you speak.
You might need to repeat this exercise multiple times a day, or even an hour in the beginning, for days, perhaps weeks, or months. But if you're persistent, I promise, the frequency will diminish, as will your anger. I know because when I threw my first ball, I kept going all day, every day, for about a week. It was a full-time job!! But it changed my life. And because I’m a human being living in society, I still occasionally let off a little steam by throwing out a forgiveness ball into the universe!
What if you're so angry, you can't love who or what you're trying to forgive, and you don't even want to say the words? I get it, I do, but say it anyway. And what if you don't want to bless who or what you're trying to forgive? I completely understand, but say it anyway. Trust me. It gets easier.
Soon you will find you have forgiven where you never thought possible.
Give yourself a gift: try Roberta's forgiveness exercise to help release some of your lingering anger and begin a path toward forgiveness; seriously, you have nothing to lose. Please let me know about your experience in the comments section below.