This post was originally featured on Mindvalley Insights
“Forgiveness is a transformative act because it asks you to be a more empathetic and compassionate person, thereby making you better than the person you were when you were hurt.” – Kamand Kojouri
Enter radical forgiveness — our incredible ability as humans to connect with our highest, most God-like selves and in the process rewiring ourselves towards greatness.
Yes, forgiveness is indeed a superpower.
Like many of our other superpowers (intuition, imagination, sex energy, etc.), forgiveness resides deep within us and is available at all times however, it lies dormant because we are not practiced in tapping into it.
Our ingrained habits of anger, blame, and frustration blocks us from it. And since we are born into a society of finger-pointing and assigning fault, we need to intentionally cultivate it.
The underlying principle behind cultivating forgiveness that can allow us to tap into it as a superpower is to reframe situations of pain and hurt as opportunities for growth.
When faced with adversity or painful situations, we are conditioned by old, outdated ideas and behaviors that hold us back from forgiveness.
From an evolutionary standpoint, we as humans are designed to remember and hold on to momentary experiences of pain which originated as a survival mechanism from our homosapien ancestors.
As a result, we unconsciously cling to ideas like “eye for an eye” or the typical revenge and grudge mindsets that cloud our perception and only further add to the suffering in the world.
As Gandhi so brilliantly said:
“An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.”
Or if you prefer Buddha:
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else — you are the one who gets burned.”
Even if we don’t attach to thoughts of revenge and retaliation, we tend to have thoughts like “this person dislikes me or hates me” or “this person is bad, or evil.”
This is where reframing forgiveness comes in by opening ourselves up to new ideas like, “this person can teach me a constructive lesson” or “this person can help me grow.”
Besides the conditioned grudge mindsets of anger and blame, forgiveness is also marred by two limited paradigms that block us from activating its potential as a superpower.
To recap we can begin to tap into our superpower of forgiveness by redefining it as a means to grow in the most dynamic, profound ways. So how do we do this?
Intelligence and Wisdom
In Buddhist teachings, two of the major paths to developing deep, genuine forgiveness are through intelligence and wisdom.
This is done by using our thoughts to change our attitude and perspective toward the actions of others, our own behaviors, and events that have happened to us.
This is essentially about elevating our consciousness.
Unplugging and U-turning (Mindfulness)
Intelligence and wisdom are what allows us to begin to view our painful events as opportunities for growth. This is where mindfulness becomes our greatest asset to unplug our thoughts from the conditioned perspectives of blame and anger and start to u-turn them towards growth, compassion, and love.
When we make this u-turn we can then begin to feel gratitude towards the events and people who have caused us pain rather than resentment.
Gratitude is what we then condition our minds with and repeatedly go back to when we think of the situations that caused us pain. It becomes our anchor to see these situations as teachings and valuable opportunities to develop ourselves.
Once we do this, we gain clarity and we begin to see life with new eyes. The illusions of anger take a back seat and intelligence and wisdom reign supreme.
Through our intelligence, we activate gratitude and reframe our thinking. Here’s an example:
“Although I feel hurt and angry for what this person did to me, I am grateful for this sense of pain because I know it’s ultimately serving me to become a better person. My pain is my guide.”
Wisdom is Born
This fresh perspective arms us with newfound wisdom that recognizes that harm and damage are only experienced momentarily and the people who have inflicted it on us in one moment provide an opportunity for us to grow for a lifetime.
Intelligence and wisdom rooted in mindfulness also eventually deepens our sense of awareness to this simple truth; the essence of who we are is unconditional love.
You, everyone else, those who have hurt you, animals, and even plants are all an extension of that love.
Our ability to truly forgive reminds us that holding grudges and being resentful is an illusion; it’s not who we really are.
This level of consciousness (intelligence and wisdom) can only be cultivated through mindfulness — the intentional act of making the u-turn with your thoughts, entering a state of gratitude for the lessons you learned, thus becoming wiser, and more connected to your truth that you are loving awareness.
Intelligence → Mindfulness → Gratitude → Wisdom → Love
Here’s a quick recap of the qualities that cultivate radical forgiveness.
Intelligence: We use our intelligence to change our perspective and reframe our thinking on our pain as opportunities for growth.
Mindfulness: Through mindfulness, we repeatedly unplug our thoughts from conditioned perspectives and make the u-turn towards the higher virtues of forgiveness of growth, compassion, and love.
Gratitude: Consistent practice of mindfulness (unplugging and u-turning our thoughts) replaces resentment with gratitude for our painful experiences and hurt.
Wisdom: Now, a new perspective takes hold and we begin to view everything and everyone with fresh eyes.
Love: With our newly elevated consciousness we can’t help but to awaken that we are all an expression of love.
Once we start elevating our consciousness to reframe forgiveness as a vehicle for spiritual growth, we begin to connect with our higher qualities of compassion, love, and peace. And our ability to forgive indeed becomes a superpower.
The side-effects from this magic of forgiveness are transformative — creating ripples throughout all aspects of our being spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and physically.
Here are five side-effects of tapping into radical forgiveness as a superpower.
1). Your start to shine.
When we go through life attached to the people and events who have hurt us, we lose our shine. Imagine that your life begins as a beautiful metal sculpture — all the hurt you accrue and hold onto in time gives you tarnishes, scratches, and rust. Forgiveness is what brings back the shine on your metal. It’s what allows you to shine — it brings back the brilliance to all your beautiful qualities and attributes.
Keep in mind, forgiveness doesn’t create perfection. That’s not what we’re not aiming for. We don’t need to be perfect, but we don’t have to be rusted either. The more rust we accrue the more it will diminish the aspects that make us who we are.
Here’s something to consider as written by Rumi:
“If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?”
2). You become unfuckwithable. Forgiveness is about clearing your slate completely — it’s not only about letting go of the big things. This is an important part of the process of forgiveness that often gets overlooked. Unconditional forgiveness is a cleansing of every and all negativity that has occurred in your life, even the smallest things. It requires you to search deep throughout your life, take inventory of all the hurt, anger, frustration, and resentment you have experienced no matter how big or small, and clearing yourself of it. We make amends with everything and everyone as far back as childhood, ridding ourselves of all the remnants of negativity and hurt.
This is the path towards unfuckwithability as we become desensitized to the things people say and how they act. We become unaffected, unfazed, and no longer take things personally. The grip of defensiveness that we’ve been accustomed to cling to softens little by and little and eventually, we release ourselves to freedom.
Through forgiveness is how we become free and in turn how we create more peace in the world.
3). You meet your angels. As mentioned earlier, the underlying principle of the forgiveness superpower is seeing it as an opportunity for personal growth. These teachings are coming from your soul. Whether we are enraged at someone or just slightly irked, this is a reminder from your soul of the lessons you need to learn. It could be the coworker who just rubs you the wrong way for no apparent reason, the neighbor who gossips too much, or the waiter who is taking a long time to bring your drink.
Whenever you are bothered even in the slightest, it is a clear indication of how you need to grow.
Even the most fleeting and tiniest of negative thoughts you have about someone or something is a lesson sent from your higher self, the Universe, greater intelligence, or whichever name for divinity you prefer to use.
As Neale Donald Walsch famously said:
“God has sent you nothing but angels.”
Meaning, even on your worst day, you are surrounded by angels who were sent to help you grow.
We all have the choice to perceive everyone (intelligence → mindfulness) who has come into our lives as angels sent from the Universe.
Perhaps that coworker who irks you is an angel sent to teach you to be less judgmental.
Maybe your gossiping neighbor is an angel sent to reaffirm your humility.
Or that waiter is an angel teaching you patience.
And for the more extreme incidents like the person who cheats on you, steals your money, betrays your trust, or threatens you with physical harm — perhaps they are all angels sent to strengthen your resilience, evolve your sense of charity, teach you self-reliance, or simply to remind you that you have the power to forgive and let go of your anger.
4). You connect to your divinity.
When we realize that everyone we cross paths with is an extension of the divine sent to guide us, the act of forgiving others allows us to become more aware and connected to our own divinity (wisdom → love).
It reminds us that we are all individuations of divinity — souls having a physical experience.
The path of unconditional forgiveness gives us a deeper connection with this part of ourselves: the unseen, internal world which is the essence of who we are.
It is where our formless qualities reside; our higher attributes of compassion, peace, and love that are always there and never go away because they’re our truth.
Forgiveness becomes the process of re-familiarizing ourselves with them and the pieces of us that are infinite.
The more we are able to forgive, the more we deepen the connection with these qualities, thus deepening our understanding of who and what we really are, which is pure, unconditional love.5). You reach the highest level of intelligence.
When we forgive by connecting with our essence of love, we’ve entered the cornerstone of radical forgiveness which is forgiveness into love.The awareness that we ourselves are just an expression of love begins to naturally move us to a higher state of consciousness. Empathy becomes the byproduct of our loving awareness and the vehicle towards our final stop of greatness.
This is what indeed makes empathy the highest form of intelligence.
As described by Bill Bullard:
“The highest form of knowledge is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world. It requires a profound purpose larger than the self kind of understanding.”
To truly forgive deeply and unconditionally requires us to develop empathy and compassion towards the person we want to forgive. This is a non-negotiable part of the process because the highest (and most powerful) form of forgiveness is itself non-negotiable, which is unconditional love.
When we forgive into love we are able to face the people who hurt us, give them a genuine hug, and sincerely wish them well. If we can’t do this, we have not fully forgiven; we have not engaged in radical forgiveness.
But when we do, we activate our greatness and become fully armed with a new superpower.
This post was originally featured on Mindvalley Insights, below are some of the comments.
Sign up for my newsletter for some inspiration, insight and the most up to date resources, masterclasses and freebies on personal growth and helping you build your business online.