It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m sure many are making preparations for parties and fun with expectations of a better and brighter 2015. A chance to put to bed the old and usher in new hope. As I put the finishing touches to my self-help workbook to accompany The Shepherd parable I published earlier this year, I thought I’d share something to help start the new year with a clean slate.
You’ll need a pen and paper and about 20 – 30 minutes (obviously take as long as you like) On one side of the paper at the top write ‘Amends’ and on the other side write ‘Forgiveness’.
- Starting with the ‘Amends’ side, cast your mind back over the year, either starting back in January and working forwards, or start now and work backwards. Think of all the people that you got upset with this year. It might be a totally unknown stranger that cut you up or jumped ahead of you in a queue, it might be an organization, your boss, a co-worker, your partner. Write down as many things that got you riled up. It doesn’t matter how trivial the incidents were, they are all important to cleaning house and well-being.
- Take a deep breath, and now go down your list and write a one-word identifier next to each thing, such as ‘anger’, ‘sadness’, ‘money’, etc.
- Now go down the list again and think about whether you are still holding a grudge or ill-feelings towards them. Do you gain anything or benefit from holding onto this emotion? Probably not.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose, and as you exhale, out loud, make a statement of forgiveness for each and every one on your list, e.g., “Mr Smith, I forgive you for making me angry.”
- Connect with the emotional release as you go one by one down your list.
Now you have made your amends, it’s time to ask forgiveness from those you may have upset during the year. Turn the page over, it’s time to let go of those negative feelings of guilt.
- Again, casting your mind back over the year, who did you anger or upset? Did you wrong anybody this year, even if it was accidental? Make a list of all the people that you need to ask forgiveness from.
- Take a deep breath, and go down your list and write a one-word identifier that explains how you hurt or upset them.
- Think about how much lighter you’ll be once you have jettisoned this unwanted baggage of guilt and embarrassment.
- Go down your list, taking a breath in through your nose and as you exhale state out loud your wish for forgiveness, e.g., “Mr Smith, I’m sorry I dented your car and drove away without telling you, please forgive me!”
- Picture them answering you, smiling, and saying, “It okay, I forgive you.”
- Connect with how good this feels.
It’s a very simple exercise, but very powerful if done sincerely and honestly. To some readers it may seem ‘silly’, but it works. You’ll feel so much better off for giving it a try, and of all the things we should be thinking about doing in 2015, surely being happier, healthier, and sharing the love should be very high up on our agendas, no?
Wishing you all a safe and happy celebration tonight, and the very best year ahead – make it count…!
HAPPY NEW YEAR…!!!