According to a 1988 Gallup Poll, 94% of respondents said it was important to forgive, while 85% said they couldn’t do it with outside help.
Even regular prayer was not found be effective in achieving forgiveness.
So what is it that people get wrong about forgiveness that makes it seem like it is so far outside our reach?
Forgiveness is a journey
We’ve all heard the saying: ‘Happiness is a journey, not a destination’.
To a degree we even understand it: you’re not magically going to walk in somewhere someday and all your problems will have melted away and you’ll magically be happy.
Well, in a nutshell, that concept is the biggest mistake you’re making with forgiveness too: you’re thinking it’s a destination; that one day you will wake up, have a breakthrough and then you will forgive the person - or discover that you have already forgiven the person.
Forgiveness is tool
Far from being a place that you will arrive at one day, forgiveness is the tool you use to reach the breakthrough in the first place.
When you reach forgiveness, you break through. The order is forgive, then break through, because the forgiveness itself is the breakthrough – it is the miracle release that you have been waiting for.
The moment forgiveness washes over you, the emotional attachment you feel to the person or situation is released, and you are released from thinking about that person or incident and feeling pain every time you do it.
But I resist forgiveness!
Of course you resist forgiveness – the journey of forgiveness is about overcoming that resistance. In fact the journey of forgiveness cannot exist without that resistance.
Your entire system is going to resist forgiveness every step of the way until you break through. Your body and mind and heart and soul are going to feel like they are pushing back at you with every bit of forgiveness energy you put out there.
Eventually however all those little bits of energy will accumulate into a giant ball of forgiveness that will overwhelm the resistance, weighing it down under the pressure of your determination. When that pressure tips in your favour, that’s when you’ll break through.
Once you reach forgiveness and surface, you will have forgiven the person or situation and the journey will be over, the pain will gone.
You will never reach a magic space where you’ll just be able to hand out forgiveness like love or candy – forgiveness is going to be hard every time you do it.
Eventually though you’ll realize that forgiveness is always a choice, and you can choose it in any moment, with any person, at any time.