How Can I Forgive Others and Move On in My Life?
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.
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Often in life, we are let down by people we may have had close relationships with. It might be an unfaithful partner, unjust parents, or a friend who shared your secret. For our peace and health of mind, we may try to forgive others but are often unable to do so.
If you have been wronged, and the initial wave of disheartenment has gone - you now face a new challenge.
Question yourself: have you forgiven that person? As forgiveness may not be that important for the person who hurt you, it is essential for you to let go of your grievance. Forgiveness is necessary to allow yourself to heal. However, this may not feel so easy in practice, even seeming impossible at times.
What is forgiveness?
To forgive someone, you must know what forgiveness is and what forgiveness is not.
Forgiveness is about extending mercy to the people who hurt us, even if they deserve the reverse. Forgiveness is not a short-term process like you think to forgive and forget. It can be a long-term linear process. But, this long-term process is worth the effort. Because it helps you raise your self-esteem and provides you with a sense of strength.
It can help you counter the false assumptions that we make to justify others by saying, "I am not worth treated well, I am defeated, etc." Forgiveness provides us with healing and an escape from an unseen burden. Our self is the primary beneficiary of the fruits of forgiveness. It decreases anxiety, depression, PTSD, and unhealthy anger. You forgive because you think it to be the best response to the mall treatment you faced.
What forgiveness is not?
Forgiveness is not about making excuses for justifying the actions of others. Pretending that nothing happened is also not about forgiveness. It also does not mean that you no longer have emotions for the situation.
Forgiveness also does not mean that you will tolerate the same attitude again. Forgiveness is not about telling the other person that "I have forgiven you." It also does not necessarily mean cutting ties with the other person.
Willingness to forgive
By forgiving, you accept reality, and you live with it. After getting an understanding of what forgiveness is, are you still interested in forgiving?
The first step of forgiveness is the willingness to forgive. It cannot be started while you still feel angry, depressed, or sad about the event. Don't attempt to ignore expressing your feelings - releasing your emotions and the ability to calm down is vital. You need to truly understand whether you want to forgive or not - knowing that you have the power to do so.
You need to be forgivingly fit, just in the same way that you build muscle from going to the gym or a workout. You need to develop forgiveness by reminding yourself to change your inner self and embrace positively.
You can start by committing not to cause any harm to yourself by consciously making an effort not to talk about those who hurt you. People are unique, irreplaceable and they do evolve. This approach can help you feed a forgiving attitude.
Practice small acts of forgiveness to make such a habit. Sometimes, your prejudgement and pride let you down in the process of forgiving others - where your ego gets in the way. To practice this, catch yourself in such a situation and try to enact mercy.
Address your pain
It is essential to find out what exactly hurts you. There can be situations where you may be wrong and what causes you damage is not unjust. You cannot expect perfection from any person, and if you are doing so, you will get hurt.
Make a list in your mind of the people who hurt you. Think about how they hurt you and understand what specifically has caused them to break you. This provides you an easier way to forgive.
Pain caused by hurt comes in many forms like anxiety, lack of trust, anger, a feeling of lower self-esteem or other. It is vital to understand the level of hurt for your healing. The more intense pain, the more need to forgive others to gain personal healing.
Develop a forgiving mind
It has been studied that when a person thinks of forgiving others in a hypothetical situation, the neurons responsible for empathy show increased activity. This shows empathy and forgiveness and these acts are interrelated. So, develop an empathetic attitude to build forgiveness.
Look into the details of the person who hurt you, if you can, see what triggered them to hurt you. They might be struggling with some trauma and have hurt you unwillingly. Show empathy towards them. Think of them as an innocent child who makes mistakes and needs care. Look at their personality development from their childhood, for example, question how they were brought up? Did they receive the required maintenance, love, and attention? Have they faced any incident that affected their attachment, trust and inevitably set a trajectory of conflict. Many times in life, people hurt others because they lag in the development of their personality due to some issue, of which they might not be receiving proper care from parents or misbehaviour of friends. Look if the person who hurt you has ever faced such abnormality in life?
By realising that everyone is struggling with their own demons, it becomes easy to forgive others.
Find meaning in your suffering
When we suffer, it is essential for our sanity to look for what this has taught us. Although painful in the moment, we should look for the purpose in suffering...otherwise, it will lead to hopelessness.
This does not mean to take suffering as a means to learn. Because when someone hurts you, their intention is not to teach you something. Look forward to the positives that can come from all the stressful situations - it’ll help you get through these (hopefully infrequent) occurrences.
Sometimes suffering even leads to achieving longer-term goals in life. It is essential to take suffering positively, and hence as a learning entity. Finding meaning means looking for directions while forgiving.
Focus on positive things
When someone hurts you, you need to focus on the good things - those good moments that you had enjoyed with that person.
Think about the situation when that person helped you get out of a complicated problem; what about the moment when you simply had a great time in the company of that person.
Focusing on positive things lessens the grievance caused by the hurt. Delve into the detail and true nature of the relationship(s).
Positive things trigger a positive attitude. The more positivity you emit, the more positivity you will adopt.
Get assistance from a coach within one of our areas
If you face difficulty in forgiving, start with small steps. Forgive those who don't matter much to you. Forgive what caused a lower degree of hurt. This will help you build a forgiving attitude, and in the long run, you can forgive anyone you want to.
This transformation requires time and effort. But this is worth it as it lessens a considerable burden off your shoulders. If you need assistance from a life coach, mindset coach, relationship coach or simply want to explore the coaches we host - do so with confidentiality and trust by reaching out to one of these experienced professionals on site today.