HOW TO FORGIVE WHEN YOU CANNOT FORGET
How do you forgive someone who has hurt you? How do you forgive the betrayal if you can’t forget the heartache?
A child who has let you down, a spouse who has deeply disappointed you, a friend who has shared something told in confidence. The pang remains.
David Teachout, a mental health professional, says: “Forgetting is an aspect of biology, forgiveness arises out of will.”
But willing forgiveness is not an easy feat.
Today we share with you how to move beyond the pain and mistrust to give yourself permission to forgive.
Forgiveness is not about the other person
Forgiving someone is not about ‘letting them off the hook.’ Forgiveness doesn’t mean you pardon or excuse the other person’s actions. And it definitely doesn’t mean you should forget the incident ever happened. It’s about gifting yourself the space to let go of the pain and the anguish for your personal peace and benefit, not theirs.
Remember, we’re all human
As Marie Forleo says: “No matter how good your intentions, you can pretty much guarantee that at some point or another, you’ll hurt those you love.”
And in the same vein, they’ll hurt you. We’re complex beings, us humans. We need to remember that. We need to remember that we too make mistakes and need to be forgiven. A grudge over time can wedge a canyon the size of the Grand Canyon between you and another person if you’re not open to honouring each other’s humanness and letting it go.
Forgiveness brings happiness
Forgiveness puts the final seal on what happened that hurt you. You will no doubt still remember what happened, but you will no longer be bound by it. Studies indicate that forgiveness brings happiness, suggesting that people’s physical, mental, relational and even spiritual health vastly improves.
If you decide you are willing to forgive, find some quiet time to be alone with your thoughts and follow these four steps:
Think about the incident that irritated you.
Accept that it happened. Accept how you felt about it and how it made you react.
Acknowledge the growth you experienced as a result of what happened.
What did it make you learn about yourself? What did you learn about your needs and boundaries?
Now think about the other person.
He or she is flawed because all human beings are flawed. When you were hurt, the other person was trying to have a need met. What do you think this need was and why did the person go about it in such a hurtful way?
Finally, decide whether or not you want to forgive the person.
Are you ready to let go, not for them, but for you?
Forgiveness is an enormous subject. Most of us spend our entire lives trying to embrace and embody this virtue.
How has forgiving and forgetting worked for you?