One of the questions I often get asked is, ‘How do you forgive someone who broke your heart?’ Rather than giving some generic answer, I prefer to quote Mark Twain when he said,
Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”
Scientific research tells us that negative emotions such as anger, resentment and blame can cause stress to build up in the body, weakening the body’s immune system, and increasing the risk of heart disease, chronic pain, and depression among many other debilitating conditions.
“Unforgiveness is one of the most destructive problems of our day, ruining our relationships, robbing us of our happiness, and even impact our physical health”, says Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization Release! on their website. Yet, the problem is that most people have never learned to forgive.
Can you really learn to forgive? Sure. Is it easy? Not at all. If it was, most people would have no problem with it. How long will it take you to learn? As with most practices, the sooner you start learning, the sooner you’ll be able to forgive anyone who’s broken your heart.
Doc Childre, founder of The Institute of HeartMath says, “Forgiving and releasing old hurts from your system is like taking a mental and emotional bath.” I think the point Doc is trying to make is that if most of us bathe our bodies on a regular basis, would it not make sense to also bathe our emotional system with the same regularity?
To forgive someone, you need to release your judgments, or interpretation of the events – even before you fully understand why things happened. The problem is that most people want to understand why someone ‘wronged’ them before they forgive. It’s a Catch-22 situation!
This is what can make forgiveness so challenging and why people so often fail. After a while it seems easier to just live with is, and pretend to ‘forgive’, but never ‘forget’, as the old saying goes.
If you’re struggling to forgive someone who broke your heart, you may benefit from watching my webinar on ‘5 Steps to Healing a Broken Heart’, which is available to all free members of the Academy for Applied Heart Intelligence website.
Or you may just want to try this simple, heart intelligent forgiveness exercise you can do today. It will help you take that ’emotional bath’.
How to Forgive Someone who Broke your Heart
- Think of a person or situation you have resented and want to forgive.
- Ask yourself, “Am I truly, sincerely, and genuinely willing to forgive them?” If the answer is ‘yes’, continue with this exercise. If your answer is ‘no’, it is best that you don’t continue. I believe there’s such a thing as, ‘premature forgiveness’. Every emotional wound needs time to heal! So just be honest, and gentle with yourself. When you’re ready to forgive you’ll know it, and you’ll feel it in your heart.
- Next, focus on your Heart, and begin to send all of the thoughts and emotions that come up in your head about the person or situation – including: past associations, memories, anger, hurt, resentments, etc. – gently into the heart. As often as these thoughts or feelings pop up in your head again, simply send them to your heart, which is the clearinghouse for your emotions.
- While you continue to breath in all the thoughts and emotions, try to feel and send heart energy, love, compassion and forgiveness to the person or situation with every exhalation.
- Do this for about 5 minutes. When you’re done, take a moment to become aware if you feel any different than when you started. Ask yourself, ‘What has changed?’
- Repeat this process every time you find yourself starting to get angry, or feeling hurt.
Every time you practice forgiveness, what you’re truly doing is practicing heart management, or simply, activating your heart’s power to release old resentments and hurts, change your perceptions and bring you to a greater understanding of the person or situation.
Forgiving others, for your own sake and your own happiness, is ultimately what forgiveness is really all about.
Feel free to leave your comments below.