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The practice of forgiveness is something many of us don’t know how to do or want to do. Hundreds of books, articles, book chapters, speeches, seminars, numerous biblical teachings and hours in therapy have informed us that forgiveness is an essential path to spiritual deepening. For people with mood disorders this process is part of the journey to our mental health and self-love.

The following eight steps are designed to provide help in the tough process of forgiving ourselves and others:

1. ACHKNOWLEDDGE to yourself the person you have hurt. FEEL the guilt and regret.
2. SHARE with your therapist, trusted friend and/or spiritual care person the context of the event, your behaviors and feelings about the experience. Pat yourself on the back for doing this very difficult step.
3. WRITE a note to the offended person your perceptions of what happened, what you did that you regret and what caused you to say or do what you did. Don’t mail the letter yet.
4. Sit in a safe place, sing songs that make you feel good, pray, walk in the woods, go fishing, take special care of flowers, trees and/or spend extra time with the animal friend in your life. Do any nurturing activities that make you FEEL GOOD about yourself.
5. THINK about what you can do to make things right with the injured person. (If you didn’t care about the individual you would not be suffering).
6. Go back to your letter and DECIDE what is needed to say or do to the person offended.
7. ACT on your decisions.
8. CELEBRATE your brave actions.

Forgiving of oneself and others make our world and the universe a better place.