Many people I know suffer from past events that haunt them. When asked, they usually say they forgave those who caused the original problem, including themselves. But the undesirable feelings keep on popping up when least expected or wanted. My explanation is that there are three levels of forgiveness: mental, emotional and cellular. Only by forgiving at those three levels are we truly, absolutely forgiving.
Mental (or intellectual) forgiveness happens when someone rationalizes a situation, understands it and forgives the person who originally caused it. This type of forgiveness is the one we usually ask children to use when telling them to forgive one another after an argument.
Emotional forgiveness happens once mental forgiveness is granted and we decide to accept and love that person in spite of what happened. This type of forgiveness can be found in couples who reconcile after a rough situation. They usually feel like they’re truly forgiving one another from their hearts.
But once in a while those two types of forgiveness are just not enough. We forgive in our minds and in our hearts but the pain, the anger, the shame, the rage, the hate, the sadness or whatever it is that we feel unexpectedly shows up once in a while to haunt us. ‘Why am I feeling like this, if I already forgave?’ we sometimes wonder. My answer to that question is that we neglected to let go.
Plain forgiving doesn’t entail letting go. Regular forgiving doesn’t require accepting the situation to such extent that its feelings also melt away. Thus, many people choose to forgive but not forget. I defend that letting go is a necessary component of real absolute forgiveness. Only then will the episode truly become an old memory without the emotional burden.
Some scientists speak about cellular memory. I don’t know if that’s where those memories are kept but do know that mentally and emotionally forgiving someone (including ourselves) is not enough to neutralize some of our sturdiest grudges.
How do we let go? Although the theory is easy enough, I often find that professional support makes it much easier to succeed. Letting go requires not only understanding and accepting, but also feeling grateful for whatever it is that happened and translating the event into a source of knowledge or growth. Only by turning the memory into something positive for you will you be able to really let go of the negative emotions. There are some tools, techniques and methods that help my clients reach that point without stress.
Are you ready to let go? Are you ready to rid yourself of old pains and suffering and walk onto the future without those heavy burdens? Are you ready to start your new year free of haunting events from the past? Learn how to let go.
Absolute forgiveness is real. It can be reached if the right tools are used. Give yourself the gift of real forgiveness this year and start living a life free of pain and regret.
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: