Every guide to good Karma starts with one golden rule: Let go of anger! If someone has hurt you and you’re holding on to pain and anger, you’re holding yourself back from moving on and you’re doing damage to your own Karma.
Right. We all get that part. But just try suggesting forgiveness to someone struggling with huge hurt and you’re met with cries of “But, how??” or “I wish!”
Well, now's your chance to open a door to healing and understanding.
Trust us, forgiveness may not be easy, but it’s not impossible -- and it’s essential for your mental health. Letting go of anger begins with empathy and acceptance, and perhaps some conscious work on your own behavior and thought patterns.
Here are a few tips to help you work toward letting go of anger so you can move on:
Examine your anger
First ask yourself, is your level of anger appropriate and proportionate to the way you feel you were wronged? If you feel your anger is valid, you can start by working toward acceptance. If you are filled with rage and bent on revenge (which is never ok), you likely need to speak with a professional to help you work through it.
Start with acceptance
You cannot change what happened, so you must learn to accept it. And remember that “acceptance” is a gateway to forgiveness. Perhaps you can’t forgive right away, but if you can try to acknowledge and accept what happened it’s a solid first step.
Take a step back
Physically remove yourself from the source of your anger. Don’t see the person or cause of your anger, don’t speak to them and remove any tokens that remind you of the situation. The less you think about it, see it and talk about it, the less you’ll continue to feel it. Distract yourself with things that make you happy instead of fueling the fury.
Fake it ‘til you make it
We don’t mean you should pretend to forgive when you don’t, but you could try to act as though you have. That behavior will smooth the anger ripples so eventually you won’t just be acting.
What if they make it too hard?
If you're struggling to forgive someone who won't apologize or admit any wrong, try apologizing to them first. It may seem backward, but it will open the door to communication if you can be the bigger person. Beyond that, it may help to write in your journal, meditate or speak with wise friends, and try to reflect on times when the tables were turned and you may have hurt someone yourself.
Remember that forgiving someone does not mean you need to continue a relationship with them or try to repair it. You can forgive someone without reconciling with them because the forgiveness is for you more than it is for them -- it can bring you peace and happiness, and heal those emotional wounds.
For further encouragement, think about these words from well-known playwright Tyler Perry, who told Oprah magazine how he came to forgive and accept a lifetime of abuse at his father’s hands: "When you haven't forgiven those who've hurt you, you turn your back against your future. When you do forgive, you start walking forward."