Sometimes we may have been so violated and hurt by someone or an incident that it leaves us in smarting and entrapped in feelings of deep pain.

The same thoughts, memories and words ring in our mind. It might also get up to a point where the painful emotions, thoughts and memories overtake your life. Perhaps you have been wrongly accused of a vile act you did not commit or been deliberately humiliated.

We all have our so called own ‘realities’. These are nothing but our perceptions which relate to our paradigms. Forgiveness is when you get ‘unstuck’ on what you want to change or would have liked to have been different. The focus is getting ‘unstuck’.

It is when you make a concerted effort to usher in a state of calm back into your life by detaching from a desired outcome relating to the offending person(s), memories and thoughts.

It does not mean that you condone what was done. But it certainly means that you finally ‘disentangle’ from the clutches of those recurring negative and painful memories and thoughts. It also means that you wish them no harm. Remember that wanting justice is not the same as willing harm. Also wanting a particular outcome, for example to be proven innocent is also very emotionally draining. Acceptance is another key component of forgiving.

Forgiving is also never about the forgiven but the forgiver. It does not mean that you have to re-engage nor communicate with the offender. Or that you cannot express your anger and/or your disappointment at the person who offended you. You allow them to surface less and less in your mind until they don’t trigger deep negative reactions through mindful compassion towards yourself.

It is a state where you give yourself and the offending party the ‘permission’ to ‘be’. If they have been cruel, give them permission to be the choice they made.

Of course I am not referring to cases of gross violence. In such cases, your bet is to work on bringing back the feelings of safety in your life and moving on to live a life that is larger and much more rewarding eventually giving very little mental space to the painful memories.

One of the ways to decouple the memory from the pain is to see a trauma specialist who is qualified in EMDR (Eye Movement De-sensitisation Reprocessing).

Life just isn’t worth getting stuck in painful memories.