It’s common to feel hurt by the words and actions of others; however, eliminating feelings of anger and hostility towards those people is vital to nurturing your emotional and physical well-being. Allowing forgiveness into your soul is an important step to personal healing. Forgiving someone is not as hard as most folks think. Why? Because forgiveness is your default setting. You were born with it. It’s just your own personal thinking that prevents it from coming up in you.
As an author, spiritual teacher, and founder of Sedona Sacred Journeys, Gregory Drambour has witnessed firsthand the liberating power of forgiveness. At his Sedona Retreats, he encourages participants to encounter and accept the transformational impacts of forgiveness.
So what does it mean to forgive? After more than thirty-five years of experience counseling in the areas of spirituality, emotional wellbeing, and empowerment, Gregory Drambour has gathered the following insights on how to forgive yourself and others.
The Health Benefits of Forgiveness
Holding on to feelings of anger and betrayal can have a significant impact on your physical health: heightening symptoms of depression and increasing your risk of illness. Therefore, apart from breaking negative thought patterns, forgiveness can contribute to the following:
- Improved mental health
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Lower blood pressure
- A stronger immune system
Several Tips on How to Forgive Others:
Remember that Forgiveness Is Natural
While the act of forgiveness itself may not feel easy, Gregory Drambour reminds us that it is instinctive and organic. In fact, those struggling to arrive at a place of forgiveness can find power and comfort in remembering that forgiveness is natural: “It’s innate to us,” Drambour says.
In other words, when it comes to moving on and letting go, it’s our own thought patterns that prove the most persistent barrier between our emotional suffering and our regenerative healing. The key to moving forward into peace and acceptance, according to Gregory Drambour, is in disassembling our negative conceptions in order to arrive at truth. For example: if you hold onto the thought, “I can’t forgive that person because that means they got away with it,” your natural forgiveness which is always inside will be blocked by that thought. If you know that thought is really not true and let it go, your innate forgiveness will flash up.
In order to combat the misconceptions that are holding you back, take the time to interrogate the ideas that are causing you to resist forgiveness. Ask yourself, “Is this thought true?” More often than not the conceptions holding us back from forgiveness are our own interpretations of the truth. Even more frequently, these flawed beliefs stem from an inaccurate and unfair attribution of motive.
Recognize the Human Behind the Hurt
Rather than submitting yourself to anger, Gregory Drambour recommends inquiring as to the true nature and motive behind that person’s actions. Instead, “Get curious about why that made sense to them and try to understand that their actions were the result of the relationship they’re having with their own thinking – their actions made sense to them in the moment.” In recognizing and accepting this key insight, you won’t take that person’s negativity personally.
Forgiveness is About Surrendering Negative Feelings
After conquering cancer over a period of four years, Gregory Drambour found himself battling another illness: a struggle with self-forgiveness. Seeking answers, he consulted a trusted friend who bestowed on him knowledge that changed his life, transforming how he thought about forgiveness. She told him, “Forgiveness is about for-giving to God.”
For Drambour, it was that surrender that played a key role in helping him overcome his emotional blocks. In short, the act of forgiveness requires relinquishing the battle and surrendering your hurt to the Creator. Drambour notes that you can use any word for the Creator that fits your own beliefs: Universe, God, Great Spirit, Source.
To overcome and move forward, when feelings of anger, bitterness, and resentment feel like they have you in a death-grip, know those feelings are being birthed from your own thinking. Seeing this deeply will cause those negative feelings to drop away and automatically be replaced by acceptance, compassion, and forgiveness. As stated by Drambour, “There’s always forgiveness within you, it’s natural to you. We need only to brush away the thoughts that are blocking you from experiencing it.”
Gregory Drambour is the author of three books on practical spirituality and shamanism: The Shaman & His Daughter, The Lead Guitarist & The Sisterhood of the Wolf and The Woodstock Bridge.