This topic has been on my mind for a while now...it actually hits rather close to home at this time in my life...I have been hurt deeply and have needed to forgive as well as having hurt someone I love deeply, feeling a great need for their forgiveness. I have come to the conclusion that the person who is affected the most is the one who chooses not to forgive...We can only ask forgiveness and do good by the offended one, it then becomes their responsibility to find forgiveness...if they cannot, you must 'let go' of the hurt. It is possible to be free of the hurt and guilt. It takes great effort but can be done.
I just love this quote by Lewis B. Smedes, from his book 'Forgive and Forget: Healing the Hurts We don't Deserve'---
~We attach our feelings to the moment when we were hurt, endowing it with immortality. And we let it assault us every time it comes to mind. It travels with us, sleeps with us, hovers over us while we make love, and broods over us while we die. Our hate does not even have the decency to die when those we hate die--for it is a parasite sucking OUR blood, not theirs. There is only one remedy for it. [forgiveness]~
Every time I choose to forgive someone who has intentionally or unintentionally hurt me, I feel a deep sense of inner peace and freedom... the act of forgiving liberates me from the chains of emotional bondage, that can only canker my soul with a wound that cannot heal by any other means. I do not believe it is even remotely possible to be truly happy and hold a bitterness toward another human being.
When I am feeling ill feelings toward another human being, whether friend or foe, I like to chant the Krishna mantra and it has the most incredible way of driving those feelings from my heart. They are then replaced with feelings of intense humility and bliss, a deep liberation from the terrible bonds of hatred and anger and hurt.
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Hare Hare, Krishna Krishna
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Hare Hare, Rama Rama