The definition of forgiveness I offer you here is my own:
"Forgiveness is the process of releasing yourself from the negative emotions you feel toward others as a result of their actions that hurt you in some way, either emotionally or physically. Forgiveness does not condone anyone's behaviour, but merely allows you to accept the past and move forward, so that you are no longer drained by the negative energy of anger and resentment attached to past events".
Of course, this definition of forgiveness can apply to forgiveness of the self, as well as others.
I personally believe that forgiveness is something that only you can do for yourself. Naturally, a heartfelt apology can make it easier for us to forgive someone, but it shouldn't be a prerequisite for you being able to forgive. You are the one who benefits from forgiveness, and by not forgiving, you are allowing someone else to trap you in the pain of the past.
If you would like to read some more about forgiveness, I have written a page called How to Forgive and also How to Forgive Yourself. These pages also give some exercises and techniques you can try.
Below I offer you a Forgiveness Process that I learned during an Australian Bush Flower Essence workshop. It's really easy to do and I have found it very effective. Give it a try - what have you got to lose?
Find a safe and comfortable place where you can talk out aloud without
concern of being overheard or disturbed. This process can be done over a
number of different sessions or it can be done in one sitting (however
this could take a few hours).
After settling yourself, take a few deep breaths, close your eyes and get into a relaxed and reflective state. Then ask to be shown, in your mind's eye, the people that you hold resentment towards. Only one person at a time will appear and the ones with the most amount of issues to be resolved will turn up first. You can invariably count on one parent being shown first, then usually followed by the other (even if they aren't alive).
When there is a picture of a person (or you may no picture, just a sense of who it is), visualise a cord or tube going from that person's navel and connecting to a cord that is coming from your navel. Tie the cords together and then say out loud "The resentment I hold against you for ......................." then list everything that you feel angry or resentful
towards that person for.
When you have finished your list, say "(name), the resentment I hold against you I now release. I love you and I forgive you." (although I believe you can leave out "I love you" if you find it too difficult or inappropriate). At the point of saying "I forgive you", physically make a pair of scissors with your fingers and cut through that imaginary cord
connecting you and the other person.
The whole process is then repeated another two times, and while listing the resentments it is okay to repeat previous ones you have mentioned.
You then reverse the process. This is done by again tying the cords with the other person, but this time you commence by saying "(name), the resentment you feel against me for ..............." then list the things that you feel the person feels resentment against you for. Then on completion say "(name), all these things that you hold resentment against me for I now forgive you for. I love you, I release you" and then cut the cord. As before, do this another two times from the other person's perspective.
You are then ready to start resolving issues with the next person, so you can now ask to be presented with the next person you hold resentment for. Keep going until no-one is left.
(I give full credit for this process to the Australian Bush Flower Essence Society, and thank them for making this available to share with others.)
No matter what your definition of forgiveness, this is a powerful process that can benefit you in so many ways. When you are no longer being affected by the negative energies of anger and resentment, you are free to move forward in the never ending personal growth process that is life, and realise your full potential.
Forgiveness does not excuse another person's behaviour, but it releases you both and allows you to move on.
Congratulations on choosing forgiveness!
Flower essences are a wonderful accompaniment to any forgiveness process. They are a safe and powerful catalyst for the release of negative emotions and thought patterns, and there are essences available that work beautifully for forgiveness.
If you would like a flower essence consultation with me, please go to my flower essence services.
I hope you enjoyed my definition of forgiveness.