Now, that you have been wronged and the initial wave of emotions has disappeared, you are faced with a new challenge — should you forgive that person? By forgiving, you give up your grievances and resentment so that you can heal.
The emotions that are coming from betray or maltreatment tend to remain ingrained into our psyche. It’s difficult to let go of all the anger because our brain is wired to memorize events in proportion to the emotional stimulation related to the stressful situation.
Also, the emotions linked to maltreatment can be long-lasting. Try for the sake of your mental health to resolve your negative emotions as soon as possible.
Forgiving has very concrete effects. Some research has shown that forgiving reduces anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
While there are only benefits to forgiving others, in practice, forgiveness sometimes seems impossible. To be able to forgive, we must first better understand what forgiveness is not.
What Is Not Forgiveness
Since most people have some misconception about forgiveness, we must know what it doesn’t involve. Here are some things that forgiving certainly is not.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that :
- You excuse the actions of that person.
- You have to tell that person you forgive them.
- There is nothing left to solve in your relationship and that you have to forget that the incident ever occurred.
And of course, forgiveness doesn’t mean that you have to keep this person in your life.
Forgiving is not something you have to do for the other person, or just because they ask you. When you forgive, you accept the reality of what has happened and find a way to live in peace with it. It’s a gradual process, and you don’t have to keep in touch with that person to whom you forgive.
Forgiveness is not something you do for the person who has wronged you. It’s something you do for yourself only because you do not let this event ruin your life.
So if forgiving is something you do for yourself and it helps you heal, why is it so difficult?
Simply because being able to let go and move on requires effort and the will to forgive. Sometimes you don’t have that strength because the wound is too deep, or the other person has abused the situation too much and feels no regret.
Thus, there is no point in trying to forgive someone without having identified, felt, and expressed your anger and pain.
The Best Ways to Forgive Others
When you have finally decided to forgive, it’s necessary to go through several steps to achieve your goal.
1. Let Go of Your Resentment and Bitterness
You will never be able to turn the page as long as you keep this hatred of the other person inside you. You will continue to think about it, and it will poison your life and your relationships. Come to peace with the fact that it is impossible to change the past. Accept what the person had done to you.
However, allow yourself to express honestly how you feel. Rethink this event and say aloud: “I’m angry because _____ betrayed my trust and I accept that it happened,” or “I accept that it happened and how that made me feel.”
2. Take a Step Back on the Situation
As you progress toward forgiveness, step back, and think objectively about the pain you have felt. Is it possible to forgive such an act, or is it something you will not think about in a month?
Ask yourself, “Will I think about it again in six months or a year?” Only you can decide.
Do not forget your personality and beliefs when you analyze the situation with hindsight. This will allow you to know how to manage your relationship with this person.
If you consider infidelity a very serious act, then ceasing communication with this person will be necessary for you to be able to forgive (which does not mean forgetting!). If you think this is an understandable act and you can go beyond, then forgive while keeping in touch with that person.
3. Think About the Positive in the Relationship
When someone hurts us, we quickly portray them as a heartless monster. There must have been times when you had fun and smart conversations. Make a list of all the little things that you used to enjoy together. Write down all of their qualities, all the positive things they said to you. Go from the most innocuous to the essential things.
Perhaps you will discover that good deeds exceed those acts that hurt you?
4. Feel Free to Communicate Your Feelings to Others
It is often helpful not to keep negative feelings for oneself. If you are hurt or angry because of what happened, then talking to someone outside of the situation can help you gain perspective. You will perhaps see things differently.
Do not underestimate the advice and help that others can give you about the situation. Of course, you should talk about your problems only to people who listen and will not judge you or criticize you.
To do this, discuss it only with a trusted friend or family member whose opinion you appreciate.
5. Take Your Time
A very important aspect of forgiving is to give yourself time to think. If someone has wronged you, whether it’s a person you’re close with or just an acquaintance, it’s necessary to let the situation settle down a bit.
That will allow you not to do something you will regret.
Also, you may understand the motivations this person had when told you hurtful word. Of course, if you live with the person who hurt you, it may be time to find another place to go, to take a step back.
If you don’t live together, pause your relationship, and reconnect only when you feel ready to do so.
6. Talk to the person concerned
When you feel ready, even if it’s not an obligation, talk to the person that hurt you. Express your emotions and be as honest as possible when talking about the pain it has caused you.
Do not let emotions explode violently, even if you think this is justified. Take deep breaths trying to be as reasonable as possible.
Imagine how your words would come out of the others person’s mouth, write them down in advance and practice in front of the mirror to say exactly what you want without hurting the other person in return.
When you feel ready to do it, even if it is not an obligation, express the emotions that the other person made you feel by his actions. Be as honest as possible, and talk about the pain it has caused you.
Do not let emotions explode violently, even if you think this is justified. Take deep breaths between each sentence, trying to be as reasonable as possible.
Imagine how your words would come out of the other person’s mouth, write them down in advance, and practice in front of a mirror to say exactly what you want without hurting anyone in return.
Use phrases like, “I felt hurt when you spread rumors about me because I do not think I did anything to deserve it.” Or “I felt hurt when you told me I deceived you because I have always been loyal and dedicated in our relationship, and I thought you would do the same.”
Use the formula “I felt ____ when ______ because _____” to express your feelings, rather than talking about the negative things they’ve done.
7. Listen to the Other Version of The story
Listen to what the other person has to say. Listen actively, without interrupting, to discover their version of the story. Feel free to rephrase and clarify what they are telling you.
Although empathy is the last thing you would like to show when you feel hurt, it can be helpful. Putting yourself in the other person’s shoes can help you understand what they feel. In return, you will find the strength to no longer be frustrated and angry.
8. Start Moving Forward
When trust has been broken or seriously undermined, it is normal to take time to accept that person again in your life. Do not feel obligated to reinstate immediately if you are not ready to do it.
It is better to burn your bridges if you do not imagine for a moment it would be possible to restore your relationship.
Rebuilding a relationship takes time; we need to give the other person a chance to prove to us that they are capable of doing better. If you used to wander together several times a week, reduce the frequency. If the relationship was more intimate, then start again from the very beginning, as if you had just met this person.
Only by respecting your rhythm, you will restore your relationship and allow yourself to forgive.
9. Leave the Past Behind
Living in the present moment is important to avoid continually rehashing what has happened as you seek to move forward. Continuing to think about it will prevent you from trusting that person, and your relationship will become bitter. The important thing is not to “forgive and forget” but rather to forgive and learn from this experience.
Every situation that happens in your life is an opportunity to learn and make your relationships stronger and better.
10. Turn The Page
Unfortunately, sometimes we think we can forgive, but we are forced to realize that it is impossible when you spend time with a person that hurt you.
Continuing to cultivate a platonic or romantic relationship, while you are unable to forgive is not suitable for you. Bitterness and resentment will come back every time you see this other person, and it will destroy you little by little. Once you became aware that forgiveness was not possible for you, then cut ties, and get rid of your rancor.
The final word
If you want to forgive and turn the page, you should have in mind that this involves loving and forgiving yourself as well. Often, we are harder on ourselves than on others. You may believe that you are not worthy of being loved, but that certainly is not the case.
Realize that you did everything you could at that time, and accept the events that occurred. Think back to what you managed to do until today, and you’ll find that what happened is just an event in your life, not your entire life. You still have beautiful things to discover.