How can I use my journal to practice forgiveness for someone?
Using your journal as a tool for practicing forgiveness can be a powerful and healing process.
Do you need to write it down though? Is it equally effective to journal your way to forgiveness as it is to just think it?
In other words what is the benefit of using your journal to forgive someone?
Benefits of writing to journal your way to forgiveness
Here are a few reasons why writing down your thoughts around forgiveness could be a great help:
Journaling clarifies your emotions and thoughts
Writing can release you from your thoughts and enable you to reflect on what you have written. Sometimes our thinking can become complicated or convoluted. Or, if it is a question of forgiveness you could become quite quickly bogged down by the emotion of the situation and the hurt you are still feeling.
Clarifying your thoughts is a step to understanding them and then being able to process them.
Journaling is an emotional release
By expressing your emotions and experiences on paper, you can vent and let out pent-up feelings of anger, resentment, or pain. Writing allows you to acknowledge and validate your emotions, providing a safe and private outlet to release them.
This process can help reduce the emotional burden you may be carrying, paving the way for forgiveness.
Journaling can help you reframe your story
Your hurt becomes ‘your story’ quite quickly. It can become the lens through which you view yourself, your life and other people. Believing your story and going over it again and again in your mind further embeds it as ‘your story’.
No matter how difficult the hurt is which has been inflicted on you, it is not healthy to live your life through the lens of this story. You need to be free of your hurt. Free to live a joyful and fulfilling life. But if you are attached to ‘your story’ and grievances around it, you’re going to find it hard to live an amazingly awesome life.
Journaling can help you reframe the narrative and gently question negative beliefs or biases, which can contribute towards your forgiveness process. Journaling allows you to create a new narrative that focuses on growth, understanding, and healing.
Releasing the other person, you and the hurt
You’re probably familiar with this phrase in one of its various forms:
Resentment is like pouring a cup of poison for your enemy and drinking it yourselfUnknown
It can be hard to rid yourself of resentment and unforgiveness.
Writing a forgiveness letter or journaling about forgiveness can be a way to let go of negative emotions and move forward.
By intentionally writing about your decision to forgive, you are setting an intention for yourself.
You can express your forgiveness, reaffirm your commitment to healing, and outline your aspirations for a positive future.
This act of writing and declaring forgiveness can be empowering and help you release the emotional attachment to the past.
Which is great for you and your life as well as your mental health. Hurt, trauma, unforgiveness and resentment all have the potential to disrupt your mental health balance. So dealing with them is great for your body, mind and soul.
Forgiveness helps create successful relationships
The better you are able to navigate relationships, the more you will enjoy them. Relationships aren’t easy, they require compassion, understanding, love and a large does of non-judgmentalism.
If you’ve had hurt inflicted on you then your capacity for these emotions may be reduced. It may help you to realise that forgiving one person will help your relationship with all people.
Are you persuaded that journaling can help you to forgive?
To help you further, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use your journal for this purpose:
Guide to journal your way to forgiveness
- Set the intention: Begin by setting a clear intention to use your journal to explore and cultivate forgiveness towards a specific person. Acknowledge that this process is for your own growth and healing, and not necessarily about condoning or excusing their actions.
- Identify and understand your emotions: Take some time to reflect on your emotions and thoughts about the person you want to forgive. Write about how their actions have affected you, the pain or hurt you’ve experienced, and any resentment or anger you may be holding onto. Allow yourself to fully express your feelings without judgment or censorship.
- Gain perspective: Try to shift your perspective and develop empathy towards the person you want to forgive. Reflect on their background, experiences, and possible reasons for their behavior. Consider the possibility that they may have acted out of ignorance, fear, or their own past wounds. Write about any insights or realizations you have during this process.
- Practice self-compassion: Forgiveness is not only about extending compassion to others but also to yourself. Recognize that holding onto resentment or anger can be detrimental to your well-being. Write about the ways in which forgiving this person could free you from negative emotions and contribute to your own healing and growth.
- Write a forgiveness letter: In your journal, write a forgiveness letter addressed to the person you want to forgive. Be honest and compassionate in expressing your feelings and thoughts. Describe the impact their actions had on you, but also express your willingness to let go of the pain and resentment. Focus on your own healing and growth rather than seeking an apology or reconciliation from them.
- Release and let go: After writing the forgiveness letter, take a moment to read it aloud or silently to yourself. As you do so, visualize releasing the negative emotions tied to this person and the situation. Imagine a sense of lightness and freedom filling your heart as you let go of the past.
- Reflect and revisit: Use your journal to reflect on your forgiveness journey periodically. Write about any shifts in your emotions, attitudes, or perspectives as you continue to work on forgiveness. Celebrate your progress and acknowledge any challenges or setbacks along the way. Revisit your forgiveness letter whenever you need a reminder of your intention to forgive.
Remember, forgiveness is a process that takes time and effort. Be patient with yourself and allow yourself to fully experience and process your emotions. Using your journal consistently and with intention can be a valuable tool in cultivating forgiveness and promoting your own emotional well-being.
If you enjoyed this blog post you may also like:
Prompts and quotes for healing from hurt (goes hand in hand with this post)
Wellness recovery action plan (WRAP) worksheets
Prioritise your mental wellness with these bullet journal spreads