Huna Forgiveness: Letting go is essential for your health and relationships
Have you ever tried to forgive someone who hurt you only to find yourself hanging onto resentment? Most of us have experienced this, even though we know forgiving others is the right thing to do.
The beginning of a new year gives us a chance to start over and create fresh relationships. What better time to wipe the slate clean? Wouldn’t it be great when this year is over to be able to look back and say you really did everything you could to forgive?
In researching the topic of forgiveness for my doctorate in psychology, I found people face two significant obstacles in even wanting to forgive in the first place.
The first is the thought that forgiving another person somehow means you are going to become close friends with that person. That is just not the case.
In ancient times in Hawaii, forgiving others was not considered optional. Huna, the ancient Hawaiian system of energy, healing and consciousness, teaches that we must forgive whether or not we plan to continue a relationship with another person.
By forgiving the person who wronged you, you can make the decision, “do I want to continue a relationship or do I want to move on?” Even if you choose not to continue the relationship, by forgiving you free yourself and the other person from carrying around hurt feelings.
The second big obstacle to wanting to forgive is the question of why to forgive in the first place. The answer is quite simple and is ingrained in Huna tradition: we must forgive as much for ourselves as for the people we need to forgive.
When you hold onto a feeling of wanting revenge or even to avoid the other person, you only hurt one person — yourself. On the other hand, by choosing to forgive you actually enhance your health and relationships.
In my research, I read many other studies on this topic and all of them came to a clear conclusion: unforgiveness, whether it is manifested by resentment, thoughts of revenge or avoidance, increases stress levels. That affects your body. It is bad for the heart, bad for the immune system. So for your own sake, be ready to forgive.
In Huna, the concept of making things right is called pono. The process of forgiveness I use and teach is called ho`oponopono, which literally means to make something doubly pono. This recognizes that forgiveness is a two-way process.
How to start that process? Let’s begin by resolving to stop using the words “I’m sorry.” Saying “I’m sorry” is a statement of feeling that requires nothing from the other person. In the ancient Hawaiian language there was no such phrase.
Instead, try saying: “please forgive me. I forgive you, too.” When you do that, it puts the ball in the other person’s court. It creates a movement, an energy, a connection.
It is important to remember forgiveness is a process — it is not something you do once and you are done. A woman in one of my trainings last year told me: “I have done this ho`oponopono. Now I feel all forgiven. Will I ever have to do it again?”
That is like saying “I just ate a salad, I’m really feeling like I have eaten some healthy food. Will I ever have to eat healthy food again?”
Just as you need to continuously eat healthy food, you need to continuously maintain your focus. Focus on who and what you are, why you are here and what you are doing right now.
Take forgiveness as a process and realize that in every interaction you can say “please forgive me. I forgive you, too.” You can use this process even when it seems there is nothing to forgive. After all, you never know when you have crossed that boundary for another person.
Take this concept with you and practice it in the new year. It will make you pono — right with yourself and right with others around you.
See the video of this Huna tip at http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=254171662834&ref=mf.