When someone hurts us, it can be hard to get beyond that hurt. Whether a friend, family member, or significant other betrays or wrongs you in some way, it’s difficult to not carry the resentment and anger as baggage for a long time. It is natural to feel betrayed and the initial impulse is to reject that person and cut them out of your life. But forgiveness is not about condoning their actions or pretending they didn’t happen; it’s about letting go of the negative feelings you have towards them so you can move on with your life. While forgiving someone might seem like an impossible feat, doing so is possible with time and willingness to move past what has happened.
Recognize that forgiveness is not the same as condoning bad behavior
When someone wrongs you, you might initially feel like the only way to respond is to punish them for what they did. But forgiveness does not mean you have to forget about the actions that were committed against you. You can still choose to condemn their actions and hold them accountable for what they did. Forgiveness allows you to put down the burden of holding onto anger and resentment so you can move forward with your life. Forgiveness is not an easy process. It can take weeks, months, or even years to forgive the person who wronged you. You may have to go through a grieving process to get to a point where you feel ready to forgive them.
Be honest with yourself about what you want to get out of forgiving
While it’s important to be mindful of what forgiveness means, it’s also necessary to be honest with yourself about what you want to get out of the process. For example, if you are working through forgiving your ex-partner, you need to ask yourself why you want to forgive them in the first place. If the main reason is to get closure and move on with your life, then forgiving them might not be the best course of action for you. But if you want to forgive them because you don’t want to hold onto the negative feelings, then forgiveness may be the right path for you. It is important to be honest with yourself about what you want to get out of forgiving someone. Doing so will help you navigate the forgiveness process more effectively.
Practice self-care during this process
Forgiving someone is not an easy process. You might feel like you’re reliving trauma or you could feel a lack of closure because you’re still holding onto resentment. At times like these, it’s important to practice self-care so you can work through these feelings. Self-care can look like anything from taking a break from social media to getting outside and spending time in nature. It can also mean getting a massage or seeing a therapist if you need some extra support. You might need to do several rounds of forgiving someone before you feel ready to fully let go of the resentment. And that’s perfectly fine. It’s important to take your time and not rush yourself during this process.
Set boundaries and decide how you want to move forward
Before you decide to forgive someone, it’s important to set boundaries on how you want to move forward with that person. Before you can forgive someone, you have to decide what you want to get out of that forgiveness. Do you want to have a relationship with them again? What kind of relationship do you want with them? Do you want to forgive them but not talk to them again? It’s important to be honest and real with yourself about your boundaries and what you want moving forward. For example, if your best friend betrayed you by going behind your back and gossiping about you to other people, you might want to forgive them but not want to remain friends with them anymore. Setting boundaries will help you relieve some of the stress that comes with forgiving someone.
Forgive, but don’t forget.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to forget what happened. It means you have to let go of the negative emotions associated with what happened. You have to process those emotions so you can move on with your life. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to remain friends with the person who wronged you. Forgiveness simply means you’ve let go of the negative emotions and you’re ready to move forward with your life. Forgiveness can be a long and challenging process, but it is ultimately worth it. It allows you to let go of the negative emotions associated with someone’s bad actions and move past them so you can live a more fulfilling life.