Helpful Ideas from Self-Help Books
What to Try: Most of us want so badly to forgive the people who have hurt us, but we just can't figure out how. In their new book, Life Loves You: 7 Spiritual Practices to Heal Your Life, mindfulness experts Louise Hay and Robert Holden, PhD, have come up with a game-changing practice called the Forgiveness Scale. Take five minutes to get comfortable, they write, as if you're doing a daily meditation. Breathe in and out, relax your body and focus on who—or what—is the source of anger and frustration in your life. Ask yourself, on a scale of zero to 100 percent, "How much have I forgiven this person?"
More often than not, you've forgiven her (or him) a little, but not as much as you want to, which is what makes their practice so effective. It stops you from thinking about forgiveness as an all-or-nothing proposition at which you will either succeed or...more likely... fail.
Let's say you forgive your back-talking sister about 60 percent. Now, the authors write, keep breathing. Imagine what it would be like if you forgave her 70 percent? What difference would 10 percent make? Note the slight change in your body, the letting go of some of the hate and memories, the fears and old arguments. Do this until you get to 100 percent forgiveness. When you are finished with your sister, move onto other people in your life. Our favorite idea? Start The Forgiveness Scale with yourself. (Note: This practice works best with repetition.)