How To Forgive Someone

by Josh

Truly forgiving someone means letting go of any resentment towards them. It means letting go of your anger and desire for revenge – and choosing to embrace forgiveness and acceptance instead.

When someone hurts you badly – especially someone who was close to you – forgiveness can be incredibly difficult. But learning how to forgive is critical to resolving relationships and moving on. By holding onto resentment or grudges, we’re not only hurting our relationships, we’re hurting our own mental, emotional, & spiritual well-being.

What Are The Benefits Of Forgiving Someone?

By choosing forgiveness rather than carrying a grudge, we open our lives for peace and compassion. It allows us to heal old wounds and move on. Forgiveness can lead to:

  • Stronger relationships
  • Greater mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Overcoming depression
  • Lower levels of stress, anxiety, and hostility
  • Lower chances of substance abuse
  • Healing

But knowing that forgiveness is good is one thing, actually forgiving someone who has hurt you badly is another thing altogether. How do you forgive someone who has betrayed your trust and caused you great pain? Here are some steps you can take towards forgiveness:

1. Acknowledge That You’ve Been Hurt

Sometimes an outward display of anger is easier to cope with than admitting that someone truly hurt us. Admitting hurt can be especially hard for anyone with a big ego – we might not want to admit that this person was capable of hurting us, or that we can even be hurt.

But where their is anger and resentment, their is pain. Acknowledging that pain is the first step in towards forgiveness and healing.

2. Understand That Forgiveness Doesn’t Excuse The Act

You can forgive a person without forgiving the act. If your best friend sleeps with your spouse (perhaps the ultimate betrayal), you don’t have to minimize or justify the wrong. But if you want to heal and find peace, you will need to eventually forgive them and let go of your feelings of revenge and resentment.

Don’t hold onto your anger and resentment just because you can never excuse the act. It’s ok to stay guarded and protect yourself, while at the same time letting go of your resentment and anger. This is especially relevant when you’re forgiving an active alcoholic or addict.

3. Examine Yourself

Forgiveness doesn’t happen overnight. It can be a long, drawn out process, depending on the level of hurt. But you can accelerate the process by deeply and honestly examining your own thoughts and feelings. Ask yourself:

  • Why is forgiving this person important to you?
  • How has this situation affected your life and well-being? How much of that was caused by the act itself, and how much of it is due to the resentment and thoughts of revenge you’re still harboring?
  • Do you want to be the victim? If you want to release the control that the offending person and the situation has had over your life, you need to stop thinking of yourself as the victim and move on.  This is a choice.

4. Do not wait for the person to ask for forgiveness

If you wait for the person to ask for forgiveness, that day may never come. You can express the forgiveness to the person, or you can keep it to yourself, but the important thing is that you truly let go of your resentment and anger.

5. When You’re Ready, Choose To Forgive

Remember, forgiveness is a choice we all can make. True forgiveness may not happen overnight, but you can start the process by actively choosing forgiveness.

6. If You Still Can’t Forgive, Talk To Someone

If you’re still struggling to let go after going through the steps above, then maybe you need help. Sometimes talking with someone you trust about your resentment and anger can help you process those feelings.

As you let go of past wrongs and grudges, you free yourself from the heavy burden of resentment. In time, you may even find understanding and compassion for the offending party.

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