Forgiving means empowering yourself.
The year-end holidays are a time to celebrate life. For me, this involves cherishing the present, honoring the past, and dreaming the future. But is it possible to usher in a new year with open arms if we hold on to past resentments and grudges? Science shows we have to let go so that we can heal and move on.
Forgiving means releasing negative emotions like anger, bitterness, resentment. Forgiveness is not easy because it’s not a skill that we are taught how to do. For most of us, the ability to forgive is forged from hard-earned wisdom gained from bittersweet life experience.
Fortunately, research now provides valuable insights on therapeutic forgiveness. Controlled scientific studies have validated that people who forgive are much healthier and happier than those who don’t. One of the leading experts in this field, Dr. Everett Worthington, has developed a clinically tested 5-step technique called REACH.
R is for “recall”—remembering the hurt that was done to you as objectively as you can.
E is for “empathize”—trying to understand the viewpoint of the person who wronged you.
A is for the “altruism”—thinking about a time you hurt someone and were forgiven, then mentally and emotionally offering the gift of forgiveness to the person who hurt you. (This takes place internally and doesn’t require your confronting the other person).
C is for “committing”—documenting that you have forgiven the person who wronged you
H is for “holding on”—not forgetting the hurt, but reminding yourself that you made the choice to forgive.
Calm Clarity has adapted the REACH technique into a short 10-minute forgiveness meditation that ends with the compassion meditation practice. During the holidays, we are providing this meditation as a public service.