08/30/2013 01:15 pm ET Updated Oct 30, 2013

10 New Steps to Getting Unstuck by Forgiving

I have a healing goal in my life this year to clear out my body of old pain... old poison... because it is time. It is time to let go of all of the space that the hurting takes up in my life and make room for all of the thriving that could be in its place.

Feeling the same way? Read on...

There comes a time when emotions have run their course and we are tired of feeling paralyzed. Our souls deserve a release of the heavy weights that we have clung to, carrying them like backpacks, slowing down our movement... to where we really wish to go in our lives. I see forgiveness, or "giving back the pain," as the key to get your freedom of movement back.

My take on the process may surprise you:


1) Decide it is time to clear out the pain by shifting your thoughts from WEAKENED to EMPOWERED.

Take ownership of your feelings and open up to moving forward again without that old backpack. Say, "I am stronger than this and will prove it."

2) "FORGIVE" the way it was intended, by flipping the word around -- "GIVE FORTH" ownership of the wrongdoing -- and its pain.

Find where that pain resides in you and decide that you are not going to let it live there anymore. Decide to give it back to the Universe... or the person who put it there.

3) Understand that "forgiving" does NOT mean "forfeiting," saying, "It is okay what you did to me -- I am over it and will forget it." NO.

You are standing up for your life by saying "This no longer belongs to me. I give it back. While I will remember the lessons as empowering wisdom moving forward, this does not have power over me any longer."

You choose not to keep the pain alive by reliving it, going over and over it or needing revenge... rather, you release its hold on you while standing strong in your new wisdom.

4) Post these words somewhere where you will see them and repeat them any time your emotions make you feel weak:

"I refuse to live my life like a victim. I am strong and greater than what ____________ did to me. The pain from _________________________ does not belong to me anymore. I will not allow it to own me or define me.

"I give it back, out of my body, back into the Universe. I can see my newly pure heart left in its place and feel strong owning that piece of ME again. My life is MINE, and it is time to move forward."

5) Be purposeful about tending to your spirit any way that feels right as you express your "letting go"... painting, poetry, prayer, meditation, nature walks, yoga, dance... utilize the healing powers of mindful practices.

"Giving forth" is a powerful spiritual step of change. Reinforcing this emotional chapter of your journey will be important as your mind, body and spirit learn to function in a new way.

Treat yourself with honor, compassion and love. Let this be a beautifully meaningful transition in your life.

6) Be grateful for your new wisdom.

Maybe you learned that certain people can be unkind, unfaithful and self-seeking and that you must be wiser in future decisions. Perhaps you learned to honor and respect yourself. Maybe now you are wiser about destructive patterns.

No matter what, find a way to be victorious in your new wisdom and not victimized in your old pain.

Speak in grateful, empowering terms when you feel the need to give it voice.

7) Acknowledge that through this process, you are stronger than you were before. See yourself as resilient, renewed, and having ownership of your own life.

Decide that you won't let someone else's bad decisions define who you are and where you are going... starting RIGHT NOW.

8) Picture yourself releasing the pain through imagery.

See yourself physically sending the hurt out of your body.

Whether it is in a box packed up for pick up... a trash bag thrown into the trash truck... a balloon into space... picture yourself actively sending it out. See it leaving. Bring this image up every time you want to push that pain out when it reminds you it is there.

9) Stop speaking negatively about the person/situation. Stop giving it your energy -- this gives old demons renewed power.

Practice freeing the need to hold it and degrade it. By speaking poison about the poison, the negative cycle keeps in place.

You are stronger than you were before. See yourself choosing not to jump into the toxic pool, reminding yourself it will only make you feel muddy and sick.

Take a deep breath, make a different decision and focus on the new strength inside of you.

10) Honor your process. Ask for help.

It is very challenging to let go of something that has festered and grown for months... years... or decades. Keep speaking the words of release, be gentle with your process, and the healing will come.

Ask a friend to be your "sponsor" and find a counselor that can guide you.

Ask the Divine for spiritual strength... and receive it.

By breaking your old cycle, your life will shift. Make a decision to speak, behave, and think differently.

You DO have the POWER over all three. And you CAN take the power back in your life.

You will be amazed at how much clearer your life becomes... how much lighter you feel with this weight lifted... and how much easier you are able to move on to the next purposeful chapter of your life.

For more by Dr. Karin L. Smithson, click here.

For more on emotional wellness, click here.