Something happens in your life that hurts or enrages you so much that it becomes part of who you are. It stays with you, lurking in the darkness of your brain, waiting for the right moment to show up and bring the whole set of feelings back. You then go over the scene like a detective looking for evidence to prove your guilt, their guilt, life’s guilt. Because somebody is guilty and you will not let them go.
Many human beings spend years suffering from stories in their past; stories in which they’re victims or stories they blame themselves for. Those stories become old faithful movies to revisit in times of pain, to scrutinize scene by scene asking themselves, what if something different had happened. “What if I had reacted a different way? What if I had said/done something else? What if I had somehow known and prevented this? What if others had behaved a different way?” On and on, going over each possible, albeit NOW impossible, scenario, pondering, musing, thinking.
Sometimes, that movie made of memories occupies a person’s time so often that the person forgets to live the time now, the here, the present, so immersed are they in their past. And also sometimes, those stories extend their tentacles into the present, invading it with beliefs rooted in the movie of their guilt or pain. Those beliefs then cripple or limit the human being today, not allowing them freedom to choose and act because the past is too heavy on their minds.
Sometimes, still, those old, worn-out movies are kept secret, locked up inside the person, to prevent their venom and power from maybe infecting others. Day after day, those movies sit heavy and domineering in the person’s heart, weighing them down. In spite of which, they still can’t let go. Because somebody is guilty and they need to pay. Letting go of the movie would feel like a betrayal and might leave a sense of emptiness and lack of purpose behind. After all, the memories have been there for so long.
And so, life goes on, unhappy, hard, heavy.
The only way a person can start flowing and flying is by letting go of their burdens because they are the ones that truly keep them grounded. Unfortunately, it’s usually not as easy as just deciding to let go. Most of us are very strongly attached to our past and putting it down requires more than just deciding to do so.
“Forgive and forget,” we’re told. Yes, but how? How can one really do that?
By forgiving OTHERS and OURSELVES at the three levels of forgiveness.
The first level of forgiveness is the one we grant at an intellectual level. We think about the situation and DECIDE to forgive because it makes sense. This level of forgiveness is usually enough for simple issues and superficial confrontation. We rationalize the conflict and mentally choose to let it go. It also is the most commonly taught of all forgiveness methods, as cultures all around the world demand it from their children already from very early ages: “say you’re sorry.” “Accept the apology.”
The second level of forgiveness is the one granted with the heart. We WANT to forgive because we feel for the other person. This type of forgiveness requires a certain level of analysis. The forgiver needs to first forgive mentally to then decide to forgive because of sentimental reasons, too. Sentimental forgiveness requires placing the other person before the action, considering the first one more important or valuable that what they did. We see this type of forgiveness in situations between relatives, couples or friends.
The third level of forgiveness is the one granted when the feeling goes and the original story can be remembered without the pain, the guilt, the rage or whatever other negative feeling is triggered by it now. This is, of course, the hardest level of all because nobody taught us to forgive like this until today and because it requires completing the other two before this one can happen. The good news is that, like with everything else in life, it can also be learned. We learn to transform the story into a lesson for life and to set our retained feelings free.
Many scientific studies have been working on the idea of something called “cellular memory” for years. The concept refers to the possibility of our DNA storing part of our memories even after our brain forgets them. The third level of forgiveness refers to something similar. We might forgive mentally and even sentimentally but there might be certain stories that still come back to haunt us and make us relive the feelings that they originally caused. The moment in which our pain, guilt or sadness was first created occasionally comes back to us and fills our hearts with those dreaded emotions. We might think we had already forgiven. But the memory lingers like the reminiscence in our DNA. It is in those cases that absolute forgiveness is needed to completely eliminate the recalled feelings from ourselves.
The whole process requires:
- identifying the original feeling. If you want to let go of a feeling, you first need to identify it properly. What are you truly feeling and who is the target of those feelings? Do you feel anger, pain, guilt, shame, remorse? Is your first feeling masking other, deeper ones?
- questioning it. What does the feeling mean to you? What would you tell the person, if you had that person right in front of you? Who would you be without that feeling? What would your life be like?
- understanding its role until today. What does the feeling give you, power, energy, a motive, an excuse? Why have you kept it burning for so long?
- deciding to let it go. Once you answer the previous questions, you might decide it’s time to let it go. At this stage, you need to make a conscious decision, a real one. It’s not enough to think that you want to let it go but that you DO let it go.
- accepting the lesson it gives you. To let it go, you then have to ask you what the original event and all these years of pain taught you. Accept the lesson it meant to teach and,
- finally, set it free. It played its role and taught its lesson. Breathe in deeply and exhale while letting it go.
Absolute Forgiveness is a process created by me as part of the humanology discipline for explaining and understanding human beings. Unless we can truly leave our burdens behind, it will be almost impossible for us to continue growing or to grow as much as we really could. Working with a humanologist, the process includes all the specific step-by-step tools and techniques to be able to complete it. Once you do it with a professional the first one, then you can always do it on your own and let go of everything that constitutes a burden in your life.
I hope this little explanation of forgiveness helps you understand that the nightmare you’re living in can finally disappear from your life and encourage you to go for it. Unless, of course, you want to continue carrying the burden and live like you’ve been doing all these years. As usual, the choice is entirely yours.
Enjoy life… ALL of it,
Jessica J. Lockhart – humanology – www.jessicajlockhart.com
Jessica J. Lockhart is a humanologist, bestselling author and renowned international speaker. Follow her here: