A powerful way to change your life for the better
The Four Steps to Forgiveness offer you a quick and easy way to start forgiving. It can lead to deep and profound changes in your life. Its power is in its simplicity; so, just start using it and you will see for yourself.
These Four Steps can be used for any kind of issue, whether big or small. However, it is best to start with relatively small issues until you get the idea. In fact, it is best not to try and forgive someone who could potentially cause you further hurt until you have some experience and understanding of the whole forgiveness process. Think of a small issue you want to forgive and try the steps below.
The Four Steps to Forgiveness
It is best to do The Four Steps to Forgiveness in writing till you get some experience. You can use the worksheet in the next chapter to guide you through the process.
Step 1: Write down who you need to forgive and for what.
Step 2: Write a list of your current unhappy feelings about the situation. It is best if these are your honest feelings, not the nice, polite things you think you ‘should’ feel. You need to move forward from how you really feel, because that is where you are. You cannot move forward from where you
would like to be; you can only move forward from where you are.
Step 3: Write a list of the benefits you will get from forgiving this situation. These will often be the opposite of what you are currently feeling. Sadness will become happiness, anger will become peace, heaviness becomes a feeling of lightness, and so on. If you are not sure about the benefits
just choose a few general good feelings that you would like, in order to get yourself started (“peace”, “freedom”, “more at ease”, “more confident”, etc.). It might help you to see the benefits, if you imagine how much better you will feel when you have forgiven.
Step 4: Forgiveness Affirmation. Pick of a few of the benefits you wrote in Step 3, which most appeal to you just now, and write a Forgiveness Affirmation including them. This is simply stating who you intend to forgive and then acknowledging the benefits which come from forgiving them.
Then you say this sentence (in the silence of your mind) slowly, at least three times and then return to Step 1, and go around again. Keep going round until you feel relieved.
I forgive _ [who] and I accept the _ [benefits from Step 3] that Forgiveness
Imagine are forgiving someone called, “John” and the two benefits that most appeal to you from what you wrote in Step 3 are “peace” and “freedom”.
Doing Step 1:
At first you would write “I forgive Jane for…” and you would write what you want to forgive her for. However, as you later go around the steps again, you may feel that you really need to forgive Jane for something else, or you may want to add things you need to forgive her for. What you write in Step 1 may change and grow as you explore forgiving Jane through The Four Steps to Forgiveness by repeatedly going round the steps. If you want to stay with what you wrote the first time you went through Step 1, or any other step, that is fine too.
Doing Step 2: First you write a list of unhappy feelings that immediately come to mind about what Jane did. Try and find at least two or three unhappy feelings. You might write; “resentful”, “angry” and so on. Later, as you go round the steps and you come back to Step 2 a few times, you might find yourself uncovering deeper feelings about what Jane did. You might add, “raging”, “vengeful” and so on. As you come back to this step, perhaps you notice stronger feelings that you had not noticed before, or it could be that your feelings become lighter as you come around again. You may discover that it helps to include bodily sensations in your list such as “numbness”, “aching”, or “pins and needles” and the like. If you want to stay with what you wrote the first time around, that is fine too. You can also score out things you wrote if you feel they are not relevant this time around.
Doing Step 3:
First time around, you would write a list of benefits that you can see yourself as receiving by forgiving Jane. Some of these things will be the opposite of the unhappy feelings you wrote in Step 1. Try and come up with at least two or three benefits. You might write, “peace,”, “freedom” and soon. As you repeat the steps, and return to Step 3, you may become aware of other benefits that you could have; some of these may be the opposite of any additional unhappy feelings that you added to Step 2. You may come to realize that there are benefits that really matter to you more than others. These may not be the benefits that you feel you “should” want, but the ones you really want. The benefits you really want may be much more practical and down to earth (“better friendships,” “promotion,” “a better job,” and “more income”) or they may be the more “spiritual” benefits (“peace”, “inner freedom”, and “contentment”).
Doing Step 4: First time around, you use two of the benefits you wrote in Step 3 as the basis of your Forgiveness Affirmation. For example, you might write something like, “I forgive Jane and I accept the peace and freedom which Forgiveness brings.” If your list of benefits changes, you can change the Forgiveness Affirmation you write in Step 4 to reflect that.
As you come back to this step on additional loops through the steps, you can change the list of benefits you focus on. If you are not getting a sense of clarity or movement, and you reach a point where you feel stuck, you can try all the benefits. Either include them one at a time (by writing an
affirmation for each benefit), or do them as a single complete list. You can say the Forgiveness Affirmation to yourself many times with different benefits included either singly or in different mixes, and then focus more strongly on the ones which feel right to you.
You can also use the Forgiveness Affirmation on its own for a few days, and then return to doing The Four Steps to Forgiveness till you feel complete.