Barbara J. Hunt
[Self-published, 204 pages]
Forgiveness Made Easy: The Revolutionary Guide to Moving Beyond Your Past and Truly Letting Go is a how-to guide for the practice of forgiveness, which provides mental, emotional and physical benefits by allowing us to let go of resentment instead of letting it weigh us down.
Forgiveness is for our benefit, not the benefit of the person we’re forgiving, and provides us with freedom, peace of mind and a closer connection to the people in our lives.
Barbara J. Hunt is a specialist in forgiveness, as well as an author, coach and facilitator in the field of change and leadership training. As part of the Vital Detox Retreats team in the U.K., her passion is discovering and sharing tools and best practices for conscious living. Hunt, who resides in southwest England, is also a singer and songwriter.
Her skills, experiences and passion have resulted in the ability to help individuals remove the weight of painful experiences with others from their lives. Likewise, Forgiveness Made Easy is a helpful guide to use when you need to release feelings of ill will.
Let’s free ourselves from our shackles
The thought of forgiving someone may make us feel vulnerable, as if we’re opening ourselves up to being taken advantage of. But forgiveness isn’t about condoning the actions of others or allowing them to hurt us; it’s about releasing ill will and resentment.
The ego feeds our resentment, driven by fear and a focus on what’s lacking in life, in an attempt to protect itself from mistreatment. By questioning this inner voice, though, we can change the negative emotional patterns that don’t serve us. Wishing the people we resent would change their ways, or at least acknowledge their wrongs against us, only traps us in a prison of pain and frustration.
Forgiveness frees us from our self-imposed shackles. Although we may feel justified in our self-righteousness, in reality, the effect of acting the martyr can have a serious impact on our emotional and physical health.
Within her book, Hunt clearly outlines the damage that unresolved resentment has on us:
Carrying resentment doesn’t only have an impact on your mental and emotional health. The latest discoveries in neuroscience prove an undeniable relationship between what we think, what we feel and the physical state of our bodies. Dr L. Wilson says: “Resentment kills. Holding on to anger and holding grudges wears out the adrenal glands and the thyroid gland. Eventually, it weakens the entire body and mind.”adsense
Having significant, unresolved emotional issues (or even just some little niggles that are ongoing) will affect how you feel about yourself, others and your life. The emotional stress might show up in other ways. You may feel more anxious, less able to cope with crises, easily triggered and more ‘emotional’ than you’d like to be.
Forgiveness made easy: 7 steps to follow
For many of us, even if we’re aware of how our resentments are weighing us down, finding a way to forgive feels an impossible task. But it doesn’t have to be. In Forgiveness Made Easy, Hunt provides step-by-step guidance as to how to let go of our feelings of ill will—by using a process that’s much easier than we might think.
There are seven steps in the author’s process:
- Start where you are (allow yourself to open your heart and invoke a beginner’s mind)
- Talk (have an imaginary conversation with the person you’re resenting, telling them every detail of how you feel they’ve wronged you and how it has hurt you)
- Switch positions (look at the issue through the other person’s eyes, in order to try to understand their position and envision what their response to you might be)
- Go higher (look at the bigger picture and continue this imaginary dialogue with the other person as each of your higher, wiser selves)
- Expose your ego’s payoffs and costs (get honest with yourself about how the need to feel superior or “right” has more costs than benefits)
- Forgive and let go (forgive the other person, releasing feelings of ill will)
- Complete (experience feelings of freedom and of a weight being lifted off of your shoulders)
Forgiveness seems less daunting
In Forgiveness Made Easy, the guidance offered really does make the process of forgiveness seem less daunting. It also helps the reader understand that forgiveness is for our own benefit, and that it’s not an act of condoning the behaviour of the person we feel has wronged us, but rather, it’s about removing the negative resentments that are weighing us down.