In the first few articles of this series about what to do if you can’t feel grateful, stop trying and just accept where you are, feeling all your feelings, and talking to someone were suggested. But what do you do if none of that works, or just isn’t an option for you? If you really still can’t feel gratitude, take a wild (blue-footed-booby-style) leap and try the Ho’oponopono technique.
What is Ho’oponopono
Popularised by coach, teacher, and author Joe Vitale, Ho’oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian practise for clearing negative beliefs and thoughts. According to a Psychology Today article by the President of Hawaai’s Kona University, Dr James, it can help anyone let go of resentment.
How did Ho’oponopono come about?
The Ho’oponopono technique is a native Hawaiian forgiveness and reconciliation technique. Pronounced HO-oh-Po-no-Po-no, the word “ho’o” means “cause” in Hawaiian, while “ponopono” means “righteousness or balance”. Loosely translated, the term “ho’oponopono” means to “bring things back into balance”, “correct”, or “make right”.
It became more prominent (in the Western world) when a therapist and teacher Ihaleakala Hew Len managed to cure a ward of prisoners suffering from various mental disorders – without ever coming face to face with them. He studied each of the patient’s records and applied the technique of Ho’oponopono.
With this technique, he was able to clear some of his own negative or limiting beliefs – and changed his attitude towards healing. He believed that this is what caused the change in the mental health of the prisoners.
While the technique has only a few proponents from the scientific community, one study found that participants who practised Ho‘oponopono experienced a statistically signiﬁcant reduction in unforgiveness, compared to the group who did not. Forgiveness has numerous medical benefits, and can even improve the immune system. For those of us who speak harshly to ourselves (and let’s face it, we can all be overly critical) this can become a mantra for forgiving yourself – and sending some self-love your way.
What is the Ho’oponopono technique?
The Ho’oponopono technique involves saying the words: “I’m sorry”, “Thank you”, “I love you”, “Forgive me” repeatedly (in any order). The goal is to try and feel them as if you were saying them to someone but even just saying them aloud (or in your head) is meant to help. It’s derived from the concept of ultimate responsibility.
Instead of seeing yourself as a victim of whatever the world/universe/god throws at you, you see yourself as a creator of everything in your reality – which is the sum total of the experiences of your individual mind. Whatever we think or feel takes shape in our reality – and triggers the problems we face. By forgiving yourself (and everyone and everything in your world) you can heal. Yes, I’m a boob! I make boobies! I’m still awesome!
Similarly, by changing your mindset or attitude, you can create your own luck or circumstances. The technique also helps you learn to deal mindfully with anything that comes up, instead of blaming others and falling into the victim trap. Think of it like this: We can’t control everything, but we can control how we respond to it.
So, if all else fails, why not give Ho’oponopono a try?
Blue-footed booby Success Formula: Try this Ho’oponopono technique if you can’t feel grateful
Sit down and close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Then say these words to yourself, whether aloud or in your head, in any order:
- “I’m sorry.” Saying “I’m sorry” helps you take responsibility for everything and everyone in your current reality. Acknowledge that wrong was done (whether by you or to you) is an important clearing tool, because it helps you acknowledge your feelings, so you can let go of blame and resentment.
- “Please forgive me.” Ask for forgiveness for everything that you’ve created in your reality. For your bad memories, past wrongdoings or negative thoughts.
- “Thank you.” Saying thank you is a way to express gratitude for everything that’s happened in your life. For everything that you currently have or have had that’s brought you comfort, joy or happiness, no matter how fleeting. Say the words, even if you don’t feel any gratitude at all.
- “I love you.” Show your love for everything and everyone, including yourself. Again, even if you can’t feel anything really, just keep saying these words. Imagine what it would feel like to love, or to be loved.
Note: Say these words whenever you think of it. You can sit with your eyes closed and take a few breaths before saying it, or simply do it whenever and wherever in any order. If you want, you can try to write down any emotions that come up.
Ho’oponopono for busy boobies
If this all feels like too much, there’s an easier way to do it (the blue-footed booby way!). You can just play a Ho’oponopono meditation for healing, forgiveness, and sleep. Listen to this on Spotify or YouTube.
The Ho’oponopono technique can be a powerful cleansing and healing tool, helping you cleanse your body of negative feelings, guilt, shame, resentment or ill will. If you are someone who is always hard on yourself, you might find this exercise to be a very moving or emotional one.
Even if you don’t believe it can possibly work, it’s easy enough to do (and might even help you break through some of those black thoughts). If you start feeling any kind of shift, share it in the comments below or shoot us an email.