So the beautiful thing (for me) about mindfulness is that it’s not just about being mindful and curious about what’s happening in the present moment (non-judgementally). It is also about cultivating those qualities you would like to see more of in your life – optimism, resilience, compassion etc.
One of the most powerful practices that I have come across is to consciously focus on forgiveness. As Denise Duffield-Thomas says ‘Forgiveness has nothing to do with the other person and everything to do with giving yourself permission to be worthy of love and forgiveness yourself.’
Denise suggests saying to yourself quietly something as simple as ‘I forgive you. I’m sorry. I love you.’ These three statements are about offering forgiveness, acknowledging that on some level you may have contributed to the issue and an offering of love/kindness. You could change it to ‘I forgive you. I’m sorry for…… And I’m sending some love/kindness.’
This is a great exercise when you find yourself ruminating on how someone has hurt you / slighted you – when instead you can choose to activate your brain towards a more positive pathway. And in my experience, with regular practice, there is often a softening inside – and at times a shift in the relationship – yet all you have done is this small exercise.
The act of forgiving is like any skill – it takes practice – so start with something small and practice – save the heavy duty / difficult stuff for later. If you want to you can find specific recorded meditations that just do forgiveness just like this one by Tara Brach
but it doesn’t need to be a meditation – it can be just a few words you say to yourself whenever you find yourself spiralling in your thinking to thinking negatively of yourself or others.
My favourite practice that I have used for almost two years now is to say to myself 3x:
‘I forgive you
I forgive me
I only send you love and light
We are both free
It is done. it is done. it is done.’
Try it this week – even just for little irritations at work or at home – instead of holding on to them – just say these simple phrases and see how it feels – remember it is an experiment- there is no guaranteed outcome – you are just seeing for yourself if it works. And it needs to be a practice – like learning guitar – it takes time for it to come easily!
Let me know how you go? 🙂 Sara