Forgiving and asking for forgiveness are two of the most difficult things in anyone’s life, regardless of income, education, hopes and dreams, etc. For some, it is extremely difficult to forget that someone has betrayed their trust, while for others, the fact that a loved one has done so weighs heavier.
Forgiveness is, in a sense, an active choice. It requires an individual to accept the fact that someone has hurt him or her, and consciously act against their instincts by forgiving and forgetting. There may be situations when your emotional condition may make the act of forgiving harder or easier; however, there are ways you can turn this generally difficult process into something that can not only help you move on but also make you a better person.
One of the most difficult things in forgiving someone is the fact that forgiveness is strongly influenced by various cultural factors. This link between the two can be seen in the form of various conditions that those who require forgiving must fulfill (saying that one is sorry, of promising to never do it again, etc.) There are also many social elements that affect to what degree we forgive people. For example, some tend to be too proud to forgive those who have wronged them in any way. There are also people who go through life having a “no forgiveness” policy.
Genuine forgiveness is a much stronger action than many may think. It essentially enables us to set ourselves, as well as the one we forgive, free from one or more actions that happened in the past. This allows us to think clearly, without being weighed down by guilt or anger. In some cases, forgiveness can even change lives for the better. This is particularly true when it comes to forgiving oneself, as guilt towards ourselves can harm us more than anything else. It can break us and leave us helpless in a world where self-confidence is vital.
The fact that it is so important also makes true forgiveness extremely difficult to come by. Most people view it merely as a social formality, required to maintain decent interpersonal relationships. However, if you feel that you should forgive someone but do not know where to begin or how to find the inner strength needed in order to do it, you will find some useful information below. While it won’t help you automatically forgive someone, it will give you a chance to better understand the situation that you may be in.
Take your time
It is pretty unlikely that you will be able to forgive someone who has caused you some sort of pain shortly after they have done so. This is why it is usually a good idea to give yourself some time to fully understand the situation and to prepare before confronting the person who upset you. Forgiveness is part of a healing process, and these take time. They also require that you get out of the line of fire, in order to prevent piling on more hurt. Retreating for a while is not only socially acceptable but also extremely important in order to truly forgive someone.
Furthermore, the one who hurt you may also need time in order to find the courage needed in order to apologize for what they have done. You cannot rush forgiveness the same way you can’t rush the mending of broken bones.
Accept your feelings
You will not be able to get over a difficult situation if you resent the person who caused it. Storing up bitterness will cause you to slowly self-destruct and may leave you scarred for life. Nobody is saying that you should let your feelings lead to an ugly argument with the one who hurt you; however, do not ignore them. Doing this usually has the same effect that it has when you do it with regard to other people: it disconnects you from yourself and leaves you vulnerable.
Furthermore, the person who hurt you may not even know the extent of their actions, or the severeness of their actions. If you confront them in a civilized manner, you will both be able to set things straight and make the first step towards genuine forgiveness. Opening up to someone who has caused you pain may make you feel even more vulnerable; however, it will empower you. Regardless of how they respond to the whole situation, you will, at least, be able to rid yourself of your anxiety.
Try to be empathic
Keep in mind the fact that you may have hurt others in the past. Maybe you screwed up a relationship, or you said or did something that caused pain to a loved one. Either way, remember how it felt to be the one asking for forgiveness. Think about those events, the conversations that you had, and how you would have wanted to be treated. When we get hurt, we either tend to retaliate or we isolate ourselves. Do your best to overcome these instincts and look towards a better way to proceed. Think about how you feel towards the person who wronged you and do not forget that they may be extremely sorry and just as hesitant to talk to you as you are to them.
Share your thoughts with someone that you trust
The best way to remain objective in a difficult situation is to talk to someone. Choose a good friend or a family member. The one you discuss your problems with should be extremely close in order to enable you to relax and to tell them the full story. Also, don’t gather a team of people. One will be enough. You want someone to confide in and with whom to figure out what to do, not to gather an army of people who take your side no matter what.
Talking to someone can do wonders for our state of mind. This is not necessarily due to the fact that we can get useful advice, but because saying what we feel and fear (actually pronouncing the words out loud), help us accept the reality of our situation.
You need to forgive yourself before forgiving others
Forgiving someone is a complex process that takes time in order to unfold and have a positive outcome. Some people can hurt you more than others, and this means that you may need more time in order to understand what your feelings are on the matter and how to proceed. However, you should never blame yourself, and if you do, remember that you cannot forgive others if you do not forgive yourself first.
It is impossible to fix things with someone, as long as you resent yourself. In time, this feeling may grow into hate and cause you to hurt others. It will certainly make you hurt yourself.
No matter what you’re going through, never let your past scars define who you are. Let things pass and do not bring them into your present. This will help you grow stronger and will make you a better person. Life is filled with painful experiences, in addition to the pleasant ones, and you should learn from the bad and enjoy the good that every day brings you.