Forgiveness Challenge: 7 Ways to Deepen Your Forgiveness Practice

Forgiveness Challenge 7 Ways to Deepen Your Forgiveness Practice.png
We think that forgiveness is weakness, but it’s absolutely not; it takes a very strong person to forgive.
— T.D. Jakes

I'm signed up for way too many newsletters.

I read at least half of them & I always read the ones from Hay House.

A few weeks ago they offered a download Iyanla Vanzant's book Forgiveness: 21 Days to Forgive Everyone for Everything.

I love Iyanla Vanzant! I call her Auntie Iyanla. She's funny, smart, kind, & has the best hit you in your gut observations. That is classic auntie to me.

If you don't know her she is a well-known author, life coach, host of her own show, and public speaker.

While I'm low-key obsessed with her show on Oprah Winfrey's network, OWN when I read that email I felt a pang of uneasiness.

Wait huh? What was going on? I thought I was all good. Past hurts? Dealt with.

But then why that feeling of uneasiness? Is there something here I should consider looking at more deeply?

 

The energy of forgiveness is one of release, of freedom.

But it's the process between pain & peace where all the hard work is done.

Forgiveness is a practice. It's like healthy eating, exercise, or going to bed at the same time every night, all of these practices are choices we have to make over & over again.

 

I'm psyched to share my personal insights & practices inspired by my experience just need to make it clear that I'm not prescribing the use of any of these practices as a form of treatment for physical or medical problems without the advice of a medically licensed professional.

Forgiveness inevitably leads to acceptance. It is a demonstration of your willingness to move on. Acceptance does not mean you agree with,
condone, appreciate, or even like what has happened. Acceptance means that you know, regardless of what happened, that there is something bigger than you at work. It also means you know that you are okay and that you will
continue to be okay.
— Iyanla Vanzant
 

WHAT IS TAPPING?

Tapping, also known as Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT, involves tapping with your fingertips along the same energy meridians used in acupuncture while repeating certain phrases as you focus on a specific topic. The goal is to clear the negative energy that accumulates from our negative thoughts & emotions.

Day One: Forgiving Yourself

Photo by  Eli DeFaria  on  Unsplash

Photo by Eli DeFaria on Unsplash

Out of every step in the process, it was the tapping that had the deepest impact. Iyanla provides prompts to use as forgiveness statements & I wasn’t aware that I wasn’t at peace with certain things but most significantly around thinking I should be more professionally accomplished than I am. But in comparison to what or to whom? Everyone's paths are uniquely their own but I believed I had to be more. I did have to be more - more fully myself - by acknowledging my gifts & developing them so I could share them with others. I didn't realize that I was still holding onto this shame. I remained extremely aware & connected while tapping. I actually felt my shoulders release. It was a lovely & gentle release. What an amazing gift that I didn't even know I needed!

Suggested practice:

Fill in the blank: I forgive myself for thinking (fill in the blank). Now rewrite it as: I am open to forgiving myself for thinking (fill in the blank). I did the best I could and I’m now working towards (fill in the blank) and it feels (fill in the blank).

Example: I am open to forgiving myself for thinking I’m not as accomplished as I should be. I did the best I could and I’m now working towards building my coaching practice & it feels amazing.

 

Day Two: Forgiving Your Body

I’m a media lover. I’ve been consuming (way too much) media, especially TV, for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, the barrage of images that celebrate being white, thin, & rich weren't beneficial for my self-image. Over the years, as I learned about how damaging these images are I’ve been more conscious about what I consume. I check in with myself regularly & make sure I seek out media that reflects women who look like me & my loved ones while celebrating our diversity. But I'm not immune to all the standards. It's a soup I've been marinating in my whole life so today's practice was a lovely reminder to continually honor my body.

Suggested practice:

Look at yourself in the mirror daily, naked if you’re comfortable, & notice how it feels to just look at yourself.

Can you find something to admire about your body, no matter how small? Say something loving to the aspect your admiring such as “My eyes are so expressive. I love you” or “My feet are so strong. They really come through for me when I have to stand all day at work. I love you.”

Find a time of day when you’re not in a rush & give yourself the gift of loving yourself.

 

Day Three: Forgiving Your Life

We see our lives through the lens of the big events & so often forget that it’s the simple moments that hold the opportunities for more peace, more understanding & the shedding of false perceptions. But there is a delicate balance between loving what is & striving for more. As I’m building my coaching business, I’ve been going a 100 miles per hour. Why? Is it more than just excitement? More than just passion?

Today’s work allowed me to hone in on the fact that I hadn’t forgiven myself for believing my life should be bigger than what it is. I used to dream of being a super famous actress & although I don’t have that dream anymore I never consciously made peace with that. The need to create will never leave me but the pang of "what could've been" does creep up from time to time.

I know this area will take more time to heal but even just starting the process has been healing.

Suggested practice:

Take 10 - 15 minutes to reflect & journal on this question: Where are you holding onto thoughts that were formed long ago that are no longer in sync or not in alignment with who you are now? How can you make peace with those old dreams or desires?

 

Day Four: Forgiving Your Mother

I’m blessed to have a wonderful relationship with my mother. Although today's work didn't feel necessary for me, I reflected on previous work I’ve done with clients in this area. I’m an advocate for setting boundaries that honor you but being open to recognizing similarities with people who we have difficult relationships with has immense power in freeing us from those painful bonds.

Suggested practice:

Are you willing to give yourself the grace of viewing your mother as sad, scared, lonely, yearning for love, or confused? I'm not suggesting you're okay with being treated in a way that caused you harm. This is about allowing yourself to break free from the pain.

 

Day Five: Forgiving Your Father

Photo by  Charlie Hang  on  Unsplash

My father & I are currently estranged & while I choose to keep it that way as I continue healing old wounds this isn't my first time doing healing work around my father which is why I think today's work didn't bring up too many emotions. Admittedly, I'm surprised by that. I've been holding on to a story that my wounds are deeper than there are & I'm so grateful. 

My father taught me to honor myself & my body, to treat my belongings with respect & care, that I am adored, smart & loved. Life events (damn those pesky life events!) may have allowed me to lose connection to those truths they've always been a part of my core. I thank my father for that.

Suggested practice:

Write a totally honest letter to your father. This letter is for you & you can burn it or flush it down the toilet when you're done. Or you can hold onto it & add to it whenever you're inspired to.

 

Day six: Forgiving god

I'm a born & raised Catholic but I ran from organized religion at 12 years old. It felt restrictive, judgmental & unsafe. I went for the obligatory holy holidays or a communion, baptism, wedding or funeral but otherwise there was no rhyme or reason as to why I went. I think I kept going because I thought it was what I had to do to have a relationship with God. For a period of time, I regularly attended Hillsong Church which felt more in alignment with who I was but eventually I stopped attending. Organized religion & I haven't been in sync for a long time but my relationship with God is strong & I can't imagine my life without my faith.

Don't get me wrong, when ish happens I curse God out for allowing me to be in pain & turn away from Him. Yet, I always find my way back. I find solace when I pray & peace sitting in silence so I can hear Him. I usually have to wait to hear his His guidance but I always do. Our relationship is a work in progress & I believe that is perfectly fine because I know He's not going anywhere.

Suggested practice:

Sit in nature - at the beach, a park, on a mountain, in a garden, by a lake or along a river - & just look around & notice how beautiful our planet is. Observe your surroundings with childlike curiosity. Say thank you for being able to be here enjoying all this beauty.

 

Day Seven: Forgiving Your Feelings

Photo by  Mayur Gala  on  Unsplash

Photo by Mayur Gala on Unsplash

Who else was a member of team Good Girl? Polite to a fault, didn't make waves, didn't raise her voice & was basically a "model" child? I was petrified to speak my truth because what if I lost the approval of the adults in my life or my peers thought I was weird? I swallowed my emotions - the bad ones, the messy ones, the uncomfortable ones.

I'm still polite but I'm willing to speak up for myself & others. I'm still agreeable but I'm able to speak up if I object to something or with someone. I usually don't raise my voice but when I must I will. I do all of this because I CONSCIOUSLY CHOOSE to. But the theme of being fearful of speaking my truth truths was evident while doing today's work.

Suggested practice:

Give yourself some quiet time to answer these questions - How do you express your feelings? Under what circumstances do you swallow your feelings? Who would you be if you honored your feelings ways that honor & support you?