Learn to forgive: How?

Learn to forgive: How?
Learn to forgive How

When you have been hurt very deeply, it can be difficult to forgive. You may have suffered a loss, or a relationship breakdown, and you feel bitter and angry. The truth is however, that real forgiveness can help you heal from grief and depression when bad things have happened to you - or to someone you love. You may well want to learn to forgive, but you’re struggling. Our tips may help you, or at least set you on the right path.

What is forgiveness?

Forgiveness is the act of letting go of a grievance or judgment you are holding against another person. Forgiveness allows you to let go feelings of bitterness, resentment, and vengeance. It is entirely for your own benefit.

What forgiveness isn’t

When you forgive someone, it doesn’t mean you pardon or excuse their behaviour which may have been illegal, criminal or immoral. Forgiveness does not involve you making excuses for the other person. You don’t have to tell the other person you forgive them either – forgiveness is a private affair. Forgiving someone won’t mean that you never think about what happened, it will always be something that was important to you -something that mattered. You never forgive for the sake of another person. Forgiveness is something you do for you because you love, honour and respect yourself.

What happens if you don’t forgive?

If you don’t forgive, you may experience a wide range of emotions that hold you back or down. You may feel oppressed or depressed. Your emotions can include anger, bitterness and hate. Sometimes these emotions can trigger physical symptoms, such as upset stomachs, anxiety, depression, or high blood pressure for example.

Tips to help you forgive

  • Recognise your anger. Anger can fill you with adrenaline, and adrenaline is addictive. You may struggle to let go of your ‘fix’.
  • Once you recognise the anger, you need to work on it. Express it and release it. Only when the anger has gone, can you truly forgive.
  • Take time to reflect of the situation that has caused you such pain.
  • Accept that it happened.
  • Acknowledge how you feel or felt. Give weight to your feelings.
  • Think about how you reacted.
  • Now think about the ways in which you have changed and developed as a person since that time. What did you learn. Has that been useful? Acknowledge you are a survivor. Have you withdrawn the boundaries of your life? Can that thing ever happen to you again?
  • What about the other person? Are they flawed and imperfect? What was their need when they hurt you? Why do you think they did it?
  • Consider whether you want to tell the other person that you forgive them or not. If you want to do so, then tell them. If you don’t, then choose how you acknowledge your forgiveness. You could say it out loud if you wish, or you could write a letter. No-one needs to read the letter. You can hide it or destroy it.

This is simplistic of course. It may take you a long time to get over what hurt you. Each of these steps may take weeks or months. It is an individual journey that you have to work through in your own time. You will always remember what happened, but hopefully you will be able to move on in a positive and life-affirming way.

Do it for yourself

It is said that a life well lived is your best revenge. You can choose how you react to something or someone that has wounded you deeply, by turning to the light and looking only for the good. Find the love, beauty and kindness around you. Don’t act on your anger. Don’t turn into a person you are not.

Sometimes, forgiveness becomes easier with the passing of time. You may not be ready to forgive yet, but in ten days, ten months, or ten years you might be.

Share
Marie Pure

Other articles


Are you stuck in a rut

Are you stuck in a rut?

Sometimes it’s hard to notice when we've become trapped in familiar routines. Take our quiz to find out if you’re stuck in a rut and what you can do about it.

Read the complete article

Find out if you're suffering from imposter syndrome

Find out if you're suffering from imposter syndrome

Do you sometimes feel your achievements are not the result of your hard work and skill but are just luck? And do you fear that one day, someone will reveal you as an imposter or fraud? You might have imposter syndrome!

Read the complete article

Even the brightest minds have setbacks!

Even the brightest minds have setbacks!

We all want to be successful but many of us find the path to achieving our dreams is blocked by our fear of failure. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, go backpacking around the world or start up a new business, you need to accept that you might fail many times over before you achieve success.

Read the complete article

Top 5 nonsensical reasons to have doubts about yourself

Top 5 nonsensical reasons to have doubts about yourself

It happens to everyone at times: we start doubting ourselves. We worry about the decisions and whether we can face future challenges that life has in store. And sometimes we feel that we just aren't good enough.

Read the complete article

What makes it so hard to go back to school

What makes it so hard to go back to school?

Going back to school during a pandemic is a new experience for everyone, and it's understandable if children are feeling anxious about it. We take a look at some of the issues and how you can help your child to get ready for returning to the classroom.

Read the complete article

How to be less judgemental of others (and yourself!)

How to be less judgemental of others (and yourself!)

Do you feel you’re always criticising and judging everyone, yourself included? Do you feel bad about it afterwards? You’re certainly not alone! Read on to discover how you can judge less and start to accept things the way they are.

Read the complete article

Hiding a depression find out if someone you know - or you yourself! - is doing this

Hiding a depression: find out if someone you know - or you yourself! - is doing this

It's not always easy to tell if someone has depression. While some signs such as sadness, pessimism and withdrawal from social interaction are easy to recognise, other symptoms may be less obvious. And some people are very good at hiding their depression - even from themselves!

Read the complete article

goede-voornemens

A new year, a new me

It’s such a positive thing to do and hope springs eternal, so why not commit yourself to a change this year? Here’s our tips on how to stick to your new year’s resolutions.

Read the complete article

Why you're not the best

Why you're not the best

What are your aims in life? Do you plan to be rich, to be a top footballer, to be a good parent, or to become Prime Minister? However efficiently you plan your life, sooner or later you are going to come up against obstacles to achieving your goals.

Read the complete article

What makes it so hard to go back to work

What makes it so hard to go back to work?

Millions of people furloughed for months are now being recalled to work. Others, who have been working from home throughout the lockdown, are returning to the office. And some jobs have simply disappeared: many people are facing redundancy and will soon have to cope with job hunting. Going back to work after an unprecedented length of time at home is quite a challenge.

Read the complete article