Learning To Forgive

by Bob Walsh

If you want to learn to forgive there are all kinds of obstacles in your way that you need to overcome. First of all, it’s not easy to actually forgive – it’s not just a decision you make, because so many emotions are involved.

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Many people question whether one should even try to learn to forgive. After all, if we forgive someone, isn’t that a form of weakness? Doesn’t it expose us again to the same form of abuse?

But that’s a rather false definition of forgiveness. Forgiving is a form of simply letting go of negative emotional attachments which get in your own way. It doesn’t mean that you endorse or deny or minimize what someone else has done to you. It simply means that you get back some personal power which you would otherwise waste for negative feelings. It means that you

Got Hurt? Hurt Them Back! Or Not?

That’s often the most instinctive reaction when someone hurt you: hurt them back. Show them that they can’t simply walk all over you and not get into trouble for it. Make them regret what they did. Punish them for their actions. Fight fire with fire.

But you’re a human being, and you got to decide what kind of human being you want to be. Do you want to be the kind of man or woman who is under full control of the reptile brain? Yes, your limbic system functions pretty much like that of a snake or crocodile. But don’t you have higher aspirations for your life and more noble goals?

Whatever you want to achieve in life, it’s much better to focus on that rather than to try to seek revenge. That’s one of the reasons why it’s important to learn to forgive.

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And there’s even another side to forgiveness, which is about authenticity and personal power and finding access to your innermost wisdom.

The Spirituality of Forgiveness

Forgiving can set you free from attachments that make you into a person you don’t really want to be. At our core, we are all very special beings with the same ultimate desires and wishes. We all want to be loved and respected, we all want to contribute and be proud of what we can do – but the ways in which we try to get these things differ greatly, and can often seem paradoxical and contradictory.

But underneath all your issues and habits, there’s the real you – which is much bigger, braver and wiser than the identity you’ve gotten used to over the years. It’s kind of funny – as if we’re covering up a piece of gold with an old, dirty leave. Why cover something so beautiful up with something so mundane and uninteresting? Well, the main reason really is: fear. We all fear that this most valuable thing could get taken away from us. We are scared of the idea that it could be damaged. So we keep it to ourselves, and only at those rare moments when we are with people whom we really trust and ready to open up do we get a sense of what it truly is, how beautiful and great.

When you have a hard time forgiving someone, then you’re clinging on to an attachment which prevents you from accessing that inner source of wisdom and power.

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