The purpose of this Step is to fully express, in a harmless manner, the deep feelings which you may have felt or suppressed, to acknowledge them and to validate them. Read it right through including the Notes to ensure you understand it fully and then work it through, being very gentle and compassionate to yourself as you do so.
FORGIVER, say, or write:
|"As a result of what happened between us I came to feel............ (state all the feelings you had or still have).|
Describe and list all the feelings which arose in you as a result of your interactions with this person, thing, or organisation, as fully as you can, in you own words. You, or the guide, can write them down. It is good to get it ALL out.
Example: "What happened made me feel angry, bitter, humiliated, frightened, scared, sad, jealous, guilty, falsely guilty....etc". .............
Sometimes you may want to add: "And that reminds me of when my (e.g. mother, father, school teacher....etc) did..x,y,z..."
If you find yourself becoming overcome with emotion and unable to continue, check Steps 2 & 3 again - about values, and benefits and burdens. These will help to keep you motivated to continue on through the process. What are the burdens of continuing in the unhappy, unforgiving state, and taking the punishment for the other's wrongdoing? How much longer do you want to go on doing this to yourself, having bad feelings? What could be the benefits in forgiving and returning to the flow of love?
It is helpful to acknowledge why you need to forgive the person you are forgiving, e.g.:-
FORGIVER, say or write:
|"Your actions hurt me, and I need to forgive you because I don't want to go on feeling bad about what happened any more. I've had enough of feeling like this!".|
If you are still too emotionally charged, you may need to "get the emotion out of the body" (see the CATHARSIS EXERCISE , if you have not already done this fully) , i.e. beat out the anger, scream out the fear, wail out and share the grief, or confess the guilt to an unconditionally loving person or group.
Or, it may be sufficient for you to speak out how you feel as above. Your feelings do need to be fully acknowledged - but they do not have to control you from now on, or you are not a free person.
Or, some people find it helpful to draw, sketch or paint out their feelings. Some people need to act them out, eg. in psychodrama. Some people express their deep feelings in poetry.
Or, others find it helpful to write a letter to the person (you do NOT need to send it to them), expressing their feelings about what happened.
Occasionally someone has "shut down" their feeling nature because of emotional pain experienced in the past, and wants to relearn to feel deeply again. In such a case the words would need to be changed, e.g. to "I need to forgive you because I want to let myself trust enough to feel my feelings again, and to believe that it is safe to do so" etc. Catharsis may be appropriate, but exercises in sensory awakening may be better - e.g. enjoying beauty, fragrances, colour, sunsets, massage from a trustworthy and unconditionally loving therapist in a safe environment, etc. These could all be stepping stones to reawakening the joy life within.
Begin to distinguish between FEELINGS and THOUGHTS. It happens very often that when I ask someone to say how they felt they may say something like: "I felt weak and powerless." "I felt stupid" etc. Please note that these are actually not true feelings, but CONCLUSIONS or BELIEFS that were born in the mind at the time as a result of the bad feelings. These need to be sorted out from the FEELINGS and they will be dealt with in the next Step.
The main feelings are ANGER, FEAR, GRIEF, ADMIRATION (and its negative forms of JEALOUSY and ENVY), GUILT, FALSE GUILT (SHAME), LOVE. All other feelings are really variations on these.
For more about the Emotions, see The Nature of the Emotions
When you feel you have fully expressed your feelings about what happened, and also no longer want to be controlled by them, and you feel you are ready to go to the next Step, then go to
Step Six - Your mental reality - Beliefs
Link here to return to Forgiveness Programme - Contents