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Do you forgive easily? Quickly? Each time?

Mine has definitely been situational specific in my life. Those closest to me often get forgiven simply by saying "sorry". To which I usually reply "it's ok". And we never speak of it again. Others I will passively aggressively ignore as a way of punishment until I deem the appropriate time has lapsed to open the lines of communication again. Some never hear from me again.

During a therapy session last week, my therapist and I had a discussion around forgiveness. What started out as a completely separate topic turned into a discussion around why I don't forgive myself and what it feels like to say 4 little words. "I wish you well." I was so truly lost on how to unlock that part of me that made it ok to truly forgive, that I didn't even know a dialogue around what that looked like. Turns out, it's just those four words. (or whatever similar phrase works for you).

My therapist had me do this exercise. He said, I want you to imagine your closest friend or family member and just send them a feeling of good will mentally, you can even use those 4 words if you like. I did. He then said "Do the same for someone you don't like at all". I did. "Now do it for yourself". I did.

He then asked how it felt for each one. The first one was positive and light and heart felt. The middle was cringey and it was hard to use those 4 words specifically. The last one I didn't feel anything. It was empty.

And so that was part of my homework assignment. To practice those 4 words to myself and to others until our next session, and I have been. Not often, because, to be truthful, I forget a lot of the time. Anger is my go to response for a lot of things (even if I hide it behind a smile). When I have remembered though (whether it be a past memory or a current scenario) surprisingly, it has helped. Even if I say it to myself through gritted teeth, it somehow releases me from that tether.

So if you're like me, and have been raised to use "it's ok" as an act of forgiveness, there's nothing wrong with that. Don't forget to release it though...even if it's just with yourself. When all else fails, wish them well.



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