The Healing Power of Forgiveness

© Saleem Rana

Forgiveness breaks all bounds of repression and depression. It liberates the psyche from bondage to the past.

In fact, I would rank forgiveness as the essence of psychotherapy.

As human beings all our limitations arise from our psychic wounding. This wound has been either intentional or accidental, but it drains our vitality. In fact, if it has been grievous enough, it runs our whole life, and ruins it.

We are creatures designed to absorb and transmit love, and when an unloving act is foisted on us, when someone or something casts a shadow on our capacity to love, we bleed.

War zones, jails, and insane asylums are where the wounded gather. This is where society sends its broken souls. Those who regain their capacity to love will emerge from these places of grief. Those who remain bitter will forever be incarcerated in them, whether or not they have been physically freed.

Those who are whole and well are dedicated to their capacity to love. They cannot kill, hurt, injure or maim another because they have not lost their capacity to see themselves as the other. Ideals do not sway them to injure others, no matter how vaulted the traditions in which those ideals are espoused. No ideal transcends their ideal to be of love and service to their brethren.

The cure for overcoming psychic wounding is to forgive. When we forgive, we pardon; we express mercy; and we liberate our own kindness.

When you forgive, you give forth your power of love to heal the image, memory, or person that distorted your self-image and gave you the false belief that you have been diminished, disempowered, and disenfranchised.

It is the wounded who strike out and wound others. It is the shadow of their own pain that they cast upon others. It is their unlovingness that they extend out of their crippled psyche. They become conduits for the poison that they themselves despise.

All forms of malice, ill-will and cruelty, euphemized in the name of some lofty ideal, come forth from those who speak in the names of righteousness; the crucifixion of Christ could not have come about except for the distorted sense of what is right by the persecutors.

If an act is unloving, no ideal can justify it, for to wound another is to wound ourselves. We create pathos in our wake. We spill grief before us.

How to forgive the unforgivable? How to release the sword of ill-will thrust into our hearts? How to break free of the resentment that has bound our tormentors these many years?

You do it by simply understanding that to for give is a healing for you. It is breaking the karmic bonds. It is an act of self-loving. Forgiveness heals pity, brings reconciliation to that which is broken within, and makes healing possible.

An act of forgiveness can be silent. In fact, it has little to do with the other person. They may or may not feel the psychic release as you drop your smoldering anger, nourished over more years than you care to remember.

When you forgive, you release yourself. You release your attachment to pain. You release your aversion to the act done to you. And when you do this, something magical happens. You set yourself free.

It is never about whether the other person or event deserves your forgiveness. It is about your going free from your own web of negativity. When you forgive, you staunch the bleeding. When you forgive, you open up your heart and regain your capacity to love. And when you learn to love, your life opens up like a glorious dream. The question, ultimately, is never whether you should or should not forgive...instead the question is always this: do you deserve to be happy right now by letting it go.

About the author: Saleem Rana, M.Sc., is a psychotherapist in Denver, Colorado. If you’re interested in signing up for a free 35 week NLP Mindset Success Course, please go here: NLP Mindset Success Course

© Spiritual Woman Press, 2005. All rights reserved.