By Daniel F. Cleary, Certified Hypnosis Instructor
Often, when assisting a client toward the changes they choose in life, the issue of forgiveness arises. The anger, regret, resentment, frustration, and even depression associated with the events of the past, may at times, seem difficult to release. The idea of “letting go” of the perceived slights of the past may infer that the client has been wrong in feeling that way, even though there was certainly physical and/or emotional violation associated with the events. There is also the pattern or habit of having felt that way to consider.
Many people speak of synchronicity and the idea that there is purpose in all experience; there are no accidents. Within this approach there is no need for forgiveness, as all events are beneficial in the process of learning. Gratitude for the lesson may even seem appropriate when the lesson is recognized. However, the gulf between theory and practice often looms immensely.
We then return to the idea of forgiveness and to be most effective, unconditional forgiveness would seem to be the desired awareness. Here we encounter the thought that we need not condone the act to forgive the effect and the person or persons responsible. This is especially true when the client is the person in need of forgiveness, even if only for carrying the emotions for so long.
When the client recognizes a need for forgiveness in their process, they may at first thought, feel that it is impossible to do so. One way of addressing this situation, that I have found effective, is to access forgiveness in the context of our work together. Ask if there is anything that the client can do today, while in session, to “get even” and the answer is usually that there is not. Then establish the time that you expect to work with them, whether a day or a week, or until the next session. Would it be okay to forgive this person only for that amount of time? Understanding that at the end of the time, if it seems appropriate, the client can return to the anger or resentment. Establish that in order to return to the old feeling, they will have to choose to do so and create a ritual of sufficient complexity to justify the state of awareness.
Then, for the time accepted to test the effects of forgiveness, establish “temporary, unconditional” forgiveness. This allows all the previous concepts to have been correct in their own context and the agreement to return to the old state frees the client to “let go” in the current time.
I have used this approach for years and thank the person in a group I was working with, for helping me to discover how quickly and easily to avoid the snares of “I can’t forgive THAT” person! I include here a simple script for forgiveness that I have made into postcards to give to clients and have even put on the reverse of my business card. Share it with your clients, give it to anyone who will benefit and notice the changes that take place. Naturally, I would never suggest that you read it or use it in your own life, that is something you can decide for yourself.
ALL THAT HAS EVER OFFENDED ME
WHATEVER HAS MADE ME BITTER RESENTFUL, UNHAPPY
WITHIN AND WITHOUT
I FORGIVE EVERYBODY AND EVERYTHING WHO CAN POSSIBLY NEED
FORGIVENESS IN MY
PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE.
I FORGIVE POSITIVELY EVERYONE,
I AM FREE AND THEY ARE FREE TOO, ALL THINGS ARE CLEARED BETWEEN US
NOW AND FOREVER.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, I FORGIVE MYSELF
FOR ANY MISTAKES I MAY FEEL I HAVE MADE
KNOWING NOW THEY WERE VALUABLE LESSONS