Forgive anyone who has caused you pain or harm. Keep in mind that forgiving is not for others. It is for you. Forgiving is not forgetting. It is remembering without anger. It frees up your power, heals your body, mind and spirit. Forgiveness opens up a pathway to a new place of peace where you can persist despite what has happened to you.
~ Les Brown
Sometimes the hurt is very deep, such as when a spouse or a parent who have hurt us so badly or when we are victims of crime, or when we’ve been bullied at school or work l. Anyone who has suffered a grievous hurt knows that when our inner world is badly disrupted, it’s difficult to concentrate on anything other than our turmoil or pain. When we hold on to hurt, we are emotionally and cognitively hobbled, and our relationships suffer, but at some point in our journey we all must face the question of whether and how to forgive.
Forgiving someone who has mistreated or wronged you is hard, isn’t it? So, how do you forgive someone who has hurt you?
All of us know it very well that forgiveness is deeply personal, so no two individuals will experience it in exactly the same way. That said, it is a process with roughly five distinct stages, and you will likely go through all of these at some point.
Here are a few thoughts I want to share with you as you walk in your journey towards forgiveness:
Know what forgiveness is and why it matters
Forgiveness is about goodness, about extending mercy to those who’ve harmed us, even if they don’t “deserve” it. It is not about finding excuses for the offending person’s behavior or pretending it didn’t happen. Nor is there a quick formula you can follow. Forgiveness is a process with many steps that often proceeds in a non-linear fashion.
When I chose to forgive a former friend who betrayed me, I didn’t do it for him – I knew he didn’t care whether I had moved on or not. But I was so tired of feeling hurt and angry with him, and while all that negativity didn’t affect him in any way, I realized I was only poisoning myself.
Forgiveness does not mean that you completely forget what has happened to you.
Forgiving someone for doing you wrong or causing you harm does not mean that you are not taking lightly what their actions were. And it definitely doesn’t mean that you condone and accept that you were due process from your actions. Actually, forgiveness means that you are giving yourself permission to let the pain go just enough to allow you to continue your life with a little less hate and pain hanging over you. In doing so, you allow your life to become like a clean slate, ready to be filled with a new sense of joy, enlightenment, change, and positivity. You no longer will be living in the past or living with a heavy heart.
Create physical distance
It’s not uncommon to hear someone say that you should distance yourself from the person or situation that is causing you to be upset.
According to clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula, PhD, that’s not such a bad idea. “Creating physical or psychological distance between ourselves and the person or situation can help with letting go for the simple reason that we are not having to think about it, process it, or being reminded of it as much,” she explains.
Move On to the Next Act
Your past history and all of your hurts are no longer here in your physical reality. Don’t allow them to be here in your mind, muddying your present moments. Your life is like a play with
I don’t know if you are struggling to forgive someone, or you have to apologize—but I think that opening your heart and getting exposed with your wounds and mistakes is the key to forgiveness.