I recently made a big mistake; I spammed over 5000 people. It was not one of my finest moments, but it was a mistake—I didn’t start out the day deciding I wanted to piss off a bunch of people I didn’t know.
When I realized what happened I didn’t respond perfectly (what a surprise.) I blamed myself. I blamed other people. I tried to find fault.
I realized my response wasn’t helping anyone, so I started using a tool I employ when I want to forgive myself and others. I will share it in a bit because it is awesome to help facilitate forgiveness, but not quite yet…
The problem was, in attempting to jump to forgiveness, I was bypassing my feelings. Instead of feeling my response to the situation, I was trying to do the “correct” thing, to forgive right away.
You may remember my April newsletter talked about not bypassing big feelings like fear. It outlined how being with our feelings can help them pass more quickly. It is a powerful practice and I totally forgot about it as I was trying to not feel bad, and was pinning fault on whomever I could.
As I was sitting there, trying to forgive, I quickly realized there was no way I could forgive anyone, especially myself, in that moment.
I was angry, and I was scared that 5000 people hated me and were cursing my existence. So I stopped trying to forgive and I just felt my anger and my fear. I cried, my body shook, and I allowed my feelings. It felt awful, and then it felt freeing. I took a deep breath.
After I had done the work of simply feeling my feelings, I could move on to the next step—forgiveness.
My favorite tool to foster forgiveness is The Loving Kindness prayer Thich Nhat Hahn shares. Below is a version I use:
May I be safe.
May I be free from suffering.
May I be well.
May I know the light of my own true nature.
May you be safe.
May you be free from suffering.
May you be well.
May you know the light of my own true nature.
I always say it to myself first, because I am the one who needs it the most! Then I say it to the person, or people, or group with whom I am angry. I say it every time anger arises within me. I keep saying it until I feel calm and at peace. Sometimes this takes a lot of repetitions!
When I say this prayer, it focuses my mind on what I actually want to feel. I do wish we all felt safe, were free from suffering, were well, and knew the light of our true nature, even when we make mistakes.