A gift you can give yourself this season is the gift of forgiveness. It is astounding the benefits for both your body and soul forgiveness will bring. Better yet, showing your children how to forgive will be a tool they can utilize for the rest of their lives.
Although there is no single path to forgiveness, here are expert guidelines to follow according to December 2009, "Good House Keeping" magazine:
1. Allow yourself to feel anger before trying to let go of the hurt and how you can protect yourself in the future.
2. Talk about it with a trusted friend or therapist. Not only can this help you sort out how you feel, it can also allow you to see alternative viewpoints.
3. Calm yourself when you start feeling upset. It can help to go for a walk or do something else to calm down. Practicing meditation helps reduce stress and enhance a person's ability to forgive.
4. Empathize with the person who hurt you. Put yourself in the shoes of the person who hurt you, or recall a time that you hurt someone and were forgiven.
5. Remind yourself that forgiveness is a gift to yourself. It is easy to think of your own self-interest rather than the interest of a person who wounded you.
6. Commit to forgiveness. Once you feel like you've reached a turning point, write it down or tell someone - a friend, your spouse, or the person who hurt you. Forgiveness is easier to hold on to if it goes beyond the privacy of your own heart.
7. Relish the release. The sense of peace feels so good.
Teach your children the value of forgiveness. It can change everyones' lives for the better.