It’s not easy to let go of an incident that has caused you pain.
Forgiving the person that caused that pain is even more challenging.
In many cases, the other person might not know that they have hurt you, and may not even care if you forgive them or not.
You forgive others so that not only you feel better and enjoy your life again, the other person benefits too, that’s the cherry on top!
1. Understand what forgiveness really means.
Some people believe that forgiveness means giving the other person a chance to hurt you again. This isn’t necessarily so. You can forgive someone and make the decision to not spend time with them anymore. Forgiveness means that you’re not going to dwell on the situation anymore. You’ve decided to not feel bad about it anymore and are moving on with your life and letting go of the past.
2. Accept that the past cannot be changed. It has happened...it is what it is.
There’s no time machine to undo what has been done. There’s nothing the other person can say that will completely erase what happened. The only way you’ll be okay is to forgive
3. What do you believe you’re gaining from not forgiving?
Are you punishing the other person? Do you believe that your anger is the proper response, so you’re simply going to maintain it? What do you gain from holding on to your pain?
Some people refuse to forgive someone that they never even see anymore. Your hurt and anger have absolutely no impact on someone in this situation. They’ve moved on with their lives, and you’re punishing yourself. I recognise that some of my readers may have been treated very badly, and in no way am I wanting to brush aside your pain. Acknowledge your pain. You can’t release pain that you’re not willing to acknowledge. Sit with your pain and avoid judging it. Just feel it and notice its qualities. Where do you feel it in your body? How would you describe it? Acknowledge and evaluate your pain honestly.
4. Understand the cost of NOT forgiving. What is it costing you to maintain your feelings of resentment? Is it preventing you from enjoying your life? Are you unable to have another relationship? Is it keeping you up at night? Do you feel angry all day? Withholding forgiveness isn’t free. It costs you in some way.
5. List the benefits of forgiving. Obviously, all of the costs of not forgiving are erased, but there’s more. There’s peace and freedom. There’s the knowledge that you have control over your emotions. You know that you have choices to change how you feel. What can you do for yourself that’s more beneficial than forgiveness?
6. Forgive. Make the decision to let it go. Make that choice to avoid thinking about the matter anymore. When your thoughts drift back to that situation, gently direct your thoughts to something else
7. Learn. What lesson can you take away from the situation? It might be obvious, like “Don’t get involved with someone that has a drug addiction,” or “Never loan money to a friend.” Maybe it’s something subtler. Where there’s pain, there’s usually a lesson to be learned.
Make the decision to forgive and move on. The pain you’re causing yourself isn’t worth holding onto your angst. Evaluate your resistance to forgiveness by listing the benefits and costs of maintaining that position. It’s clear that you have much to gain by letting go of your pain.
Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself!
Forgive those who have hurt you and enjoy your life again!