Forgiving someone is about as personal as it gets–you were hurt, and only you can figure out how you’re going to heal. Get help along the way, whether it’s from a mental health professional, spiritual adviser or simply the people you love.
Here are some of the forgiveness techniques that Dr. Fred Luskin, director of the Stanford University Forgiveness Project, suggests in his book Forgive for Good (HarperCollins). They may help you stop the pointless cycle of hurt and anger, and then help you to move forward in a healthy way.
Change the channel Quit watching endless reruns of “My Mother Was Cold and Distant” in your head. Instead, consciously look for the joy and beauty around you. Take pleasure in playing Frisbee with your kids or in the glow of that incredible sunset.
Look for forgiveness Read about people who have forgiven others. Practise forgiving just one minute at a time, or forgiving people for small offences, like the guy who cut you off on the way to work this morning. Think of times that you have needed to be forgiven.
Refocus your emotions When you’re feeling stressed and anxious because of an unresolved hurtful situation, take some time to settle down. Slowly breathe in and push your belly out. Then breathe out and relax your belly. Repeat a couple of times. On your third inhalation, think of someone you love. Keep breathing peacefully. Instead of asking the hurt and angry part of you what to do, tune in to the relaxed and loving part of you and look for answers there.