Forgiveness is a very hard thing to give to people who have hurt you. For some, it’s a luxury that they can’t afford to offer. They don’t know how to forgive. This is understandable because it can really be challenging to forgive someone who has crossed you deeply. However, being able to truly forgive a person can be good for you. It will help you feel better and can mend your relationship with the person. Forgiving someone can release the heavy burden that you might be feeling in your chest. You will be lightening your load and relieve stress. It is good for your mental and emotional health so you’ll be doing yourself a favor. Learning to forgive someone may be difficult. It can be a long and intensive process but it’s good for you. It’s better than holding on to a grudge.
Realize it is time to forgive.
I know forgiving someone can be easier said than done. But when you’re experiencing one or more of these things, know that it’s time to let go and move on:
- You’re drained and all these feelings of anger or sadness is just taking all the life out of you.
- You’ve grown apart from the person who hurt you and whenever you remember them or someone mentions them, all you feel is anger.
- You notice you live more in the past than in the present.
Letting go and forgiving the person will instantly make you feel better and be good for well-being.
How to forgive someone
1 Validate your emotions.
You’re angry, you’re hurt or bitter about what the person has done to you. Let yourself feel those negative emotions. It’s okay. You’re only human after all. Don’t ignore or suppress those feelings as they’re completely normal. Engage with their full impact and express them in the way that you know how. Acknowledge those emotions as they tend to get worse if you continue to deny them.
2 Stay aware of your feelings.
As much as you need to acknowledge those emotions, you must still maintain a level of awareness. Don’t let those emotions get the better of you. Express your sadness or anger in a way that doesn’t hurt you or anyone else. Try maintaining a journal about your thoughts and emotions. This will help release your stress and heavy feelings. Or maybe try doing things that are more productive like exercise or creating arts. These won’t only take your mind off of things, you’ll also be doing something better with your time rather than wallow in despair or hatred.
3 Try to understand yourself more.
It is easy to get taken away with all the emotions you’re feeling when you’re hurt. So, as you’re trying to have a better control of your own feelings, try to understand yourself more in the process. Try to understand the hurt that you’re harboring. Why does it hurt so much? Did it reactivate any past wounds? Turn your pain into self-reflections that will help you get to know yourself even more. This way, letting go of the pain will be easier.
4 Talk to someone about your feelings.
If the pain is too much and it’s too much for you to handle, you can always ask your family and friends to hear you out. Instead of isolating yourself and handling it alone, maybe venting out can help you ease the heavy burden you’re feeling. Aside from this, you can also gain a new perspective in the problem you’re facing. There might be some valuable advice or insight that you can get. This can help you understand your situation even better and have a stronger sense of how to proceed.
5 Accept the wrong that has been done to you.
You don’t need to make excuses for the person who hurt you. Nobody has the right to dictate you what to feel. If you’re hurt, you’re hurt. Accept that. You may not want this person back into your life again and you need to accept that. Accept that you’ve had this unpleasant experience and that it cannot be changed. Some people can’t move forward because they remain stuck in denying to themselves that they have been wronged.
6 Focus on being kind.
Most of the time, forgiveness is not about being right. It’s about being kind. Not only to the other person but more importantly, to yourself. It is tempting to wallow on the wrongs the person did to you. But in order for you to forgive someone you have to remember that it’s better to be kind than to be right.
7 Talk with the person and listen to their side of the story.
There are always two sides to a coin. If the person approaches you and asks for you to listen to their side, it is better to hear them out. I know you might not be ready to talk it out so you can always ask for more time. You don’t have to talk if you don’t want to. But when you’re ready, hear them out and listen to what they have to say. Let the person talk without interrupting them, and try to see the situation from their side of the story.
8 Accept that nobody is perfect.
Most people don’t intentionally hurt others. People who are in deep pain themselves tend to hurt the people around them. That might include you, unfortunately. Acknowledge this truth and see the humanity in the people who have hurt us. Try to understand the choices that they’ve made. They might not make sense to you but nobody is perfect. In the same way, nobody makes the right choices all the time. See the human in the person who has hurt you and work from there. Empathy is a powerful weapon against grudges. Spend at least a little time seeing your current situation from the other person’s perspective. You’re not excusing them from the bad things they’ve done to you. You’re just trying to understand the human in them. We all have complexities and inner struggles. Everybody makes mistakes.
9 Accept Apologies.
Not everybody gets a “sorry” when they’ve been wronged. Sometimes, people don’t just bother with apologies. It’s sad but it happens. As such, if someone is willing to offer you an apology, accept it. You can accept it even if you’re not ready to forgive. Apologies and forgiveness don’t have to go hand in hand. You’re not ready so just explain it to the person. Accepting their apology doesn’t mean you’ll be excusing their actions. The best apology is still changed behavior. You don’t have to welcome the person back into your life if you don’t want to.
10 Find the willingness to forgive.
Give yourself time to digest everything that has happened. Willingness to forgive doesn’t come easily to some, if not most, people. But you will get there. If you’ve let yourself feel all negative emotions then, there will come a time where you’ll realize there’s no point in letting yourself continue to suffer. Stop clinging to the pain that’s weighing you down.
Don’t forgive someone just because you read in this article that it’s good for you. I mean I will be flattered but you don’t have to forgive if you don’t want to. No one can force you to forgive. But again, how long will you hold on to your pain? It is a choice you have to make for yourself. Those are your emotions and you have to deal with them in the way that will benefit you the most. So as much as you find the courage to forgive you also need to be willing to give forgiveness.
11 Stop victimizing yourself.
Yes, you were hurt and the person must’ve done terrible things to you. However, continuing to demonize them and being the victim is not doing anybody a favor. Remaining the victim will only let you wallow in despair, worse, you might get too comfortable in it. Sometimes the sadness gets too addicting and you feel like you don’t want to get away from it. You have to stop yourself before you fall into this bottomless pit.
12 Accept that you can’t control anyone but yourself.
We all have free will. Everyone in this universe is free to do whatever they want. That means as much as you can do everything you want, everybody else can do the same. You can’t control them. We can’t make people do what they don’t want to. We will be happier if we just let go of things we can’t control. Maybe you’re obsessing over the fact that they didn’t do what you think is best for them. Maybe your pain is from your desire to control them. You have to let go and let them make their own choices. Leave them to their own devices.
13 Let go.
To forgive is to let go. You need to take yourself out of the past. Tell yourself that you’re going to give all your energy to this moment and this day, instead of uselessly pouring it into something you can’t change. You have to finally release the emotions that’s been holding you back. Once you do that, you can actively move on with your life positively and productively. You will feel a profound and lasting sense of peace and closure.
14 Learn from what happened.
There’s always lessons to be learned no matter how awful something us. As much as you need to accept that you were wronged, you also need to take responsibility for whatever role you played in the hurtful event. It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small, you should acknowledge those actions and take responsibility. Learn from them and forgive yourself too.
15 Don’t forget to forgive and love yourself.
Forgive and love yourself. You were probably harder on yourself than the other person. Maybe you’re blaming yourself for trusting the person too much. Don’t. Realize that you have done the best you could at the time and accept the events that occurred. To move forward, you must also forgive yourself for everything that happened.
The key takeaway
Forgiveness is not a favor you do to the person. If anything, it is a gift that you give to yourself. It is about you letting go and choosing not to allow another person to have power over you and weigh you down.
It may be too painful sometimes and we don’t know how we can ever forgive the other person. What’s important to remember is that healing is a process. Take your time and don’t rush yourself.
Although we’d rather live pain-free lives, these experiences are opportunities for us to get to know ourselves better and grow. When we decide to process our pain, to reflect on ourselves, and to release those who have hurt us, we grow and become better people.