When someone wrongs you, there are times you feel certain that you’ll never be able to get over it even after your immediate anger passes. At this point you continue to dwell on the betrayal instead of letting it fade into memory. Bad news; it’s bad for you. Good news; you can actually let go.
If you feel this way, you’re not alone. It is pretty common to feel this way.
There are times when forgiveness might seem challenging, in part because it’s often misunderstood.
Forgiveness does not mean the following; forgetting what happened; implying the pain they caused was no big deal; automatically resuming your previous relationship.
In reality, forgiveness simply means choosing to let go of your anger, hurt, and desire for vengeance. This is you accepting that what happened is now in the past, recognize that people make mistakes, and begin cultivating compassion instead.
Why should you bother?
Incase you missed it, forgiveness is for you. Many people view forgiveness as something that helps the person being forgiven but forgiveness benefits you most of all.
Forgiveness has health benefits
Forgiveness helps reduce stress which in turn can have positive health outcomes, including: lower blood pressure, reduced anxiety, better sleep, improved self-esteem among others.
Forgiveness may also allow you to let go of unhealthy emotions, which can contribute to complications like stress, muscle tension, heart problems and decreased immune function among others.
Forgiveness can help you reconcile.
First, it’s important to understand that you can forgive someone without resuming contact or picking a relationship back up. Depending on the circumstances, you may even need to avoid contact.
In many cases, the act of forgiveness can help someone who inadvertently caused pain to realize how they hurt you and this provides an opportunity for learning and growth.
If you don’t feel like you can extend forgiveness immediately, that’s OK. It can take some time to reach that place because when it comes to forgiveness, authenticity is essential. Forced forgiveness doesn’t really benefit anyone since you’re still holding on to pain and anger.
Think you’re ready to forgive but have no idea where to start? That’s OK. It’s not always easy, but help is available. Here’s what you can do;
Step 1: Acknowledge the hurt. Who hurt you and why did they do it? What is the context of the situation, and how long ago did this happen?
Step 2: Consider how the hurt and pain has affected you. Before you decide on whether or not you will forgive this person, consider the negative feelings you’ve acquired since the incident. How has the pain changed you? How detrimental was the person’s mistake to your life or someone else?
Step 3: Accept that you cannot change the past. No matter how much you wish this pain could be reversed, it’s time to admit to yourself that your anger toward the person won’t redeem what they have done. This is when you must thoughtfully consider whether or not you want to forgive.
Step 4: Determine whether or not you will forgive. This is when the forgiveness process will either begin or end. This decision should not be made lightly, as it will determine the future of your relationship with this person.
Step 5: Repair the relationship with the person who wronged you, depending on the gravity of the offence. If being in contact with the person is bad for you, do stay away.
Step 6: Learn what forgiveness means to you. It’s clear that forgiveness is a way for you to find closure. Closure that means something.
Step 7: Forgive
Forgive the person who wronged you. In some cases, this will be silent and in others verbal.
What will matter is that you have found a way to let go and move on.
Let’s drop our comments on our healing journey it just might help and encourage someone else.