Forgiveness. That word alone is powerful. Forgiveness. It frees you from your past and frees you from the hurt you feel. Forgiveness. It helps pave the path to your future, it helps create the life you REALLY want. But how do we attain that freedom? How do we let go and find that happiness? Does it really feel as good as it sounds? Yes, friends. If you’re interested in how to use the power of forgiveness to transform your life, keep reading.

1. Let’s start with one that stings. The simple reality is, forgiveness starts and ends with you. It has almost nothing to do with the other person. Yikes, this is hard to understand. But the answer is almost, well, quite simple. What we hold onto within ourselves dictates our happiness. Our reality. Our every day life. Holding a grudge is like holding yourself prisoner. “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” Spoken by Lewis B. Smedes. Once you realize the work starts inside of you, you’re on the right path to using the power of forgiveness to transform your life.

2. Secondly, this truth to forgiveness is actually sad. Maybe comical in a messed up way. We might as well forgive, because people will always hurt us. Mistakes will never stop. Bad people exist. But let us remember this, God forgave us for our sins… even the really bad ones! How can we not expect to be hurt or let down by the people in our lives, when we may hurt others daily too. Let’s go to Colossians 3:13. For it says, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Forgiving isn’t about fixing a wrongdoing, healing the pain, or punishing the person who hurt us. In the end, we are all in this crazy thing called “life” together and not one single person is perfect.

3. Even though forgiveness is important to help transform our lives, forgiving doesn’t mean you approve of bad behavior. Forgiving doesn’t mean you let that other person off the hook. It means you’re letting yourself off the hook. You’re letting that hurt go and letting them face what they did. You can’t control what happened or other people’s behavior, but you can control how you meet your own experience.

4. Here’s another hard truth, to forgive you don’t need an apology. If you get one, that’s great. If you don’t, it’s hard. But back to square one, forgiveness is an inner letting go. Waiting for an apology that may never come keeps you prisoner.

5. It’s empowering to forgive. Not forgiving keeps you squarely locked into the victim mentality. When you make the decision to embark on the path of forgiveness, you’re reclaiming your power. You’re taking responsibility for your own thoughts and feelings, coming to peace with the hurt, and taking that step forward to transform your life and flourish.

If you are harboring resentment towards another person, a loved one or stranger, choose to forgive and move on. The harm was their fault – you know it, they probably do too. So why allow it to weigh down on your life? Why are you letting their mistakes continue to hurt or trap you? FREE YOURSELF by taking the necessary steps and allow yourself to reap the benefits from practicing forgiveness. Let forgiveness transform your life.