We’ve all been hurt by someone we love at one time or another. We may have heard harsh words from a family member or perhaps a spouse or partner has cheated. No matter what the infraction, if someone has hurt us it’s imperative that we learn to forgive. The power of forgiveness can be incredibly healthy – both for the mind, body and soul. Forgiveness isn’t easy, however. So how can we harness the power of forgiveness without feeling as though we’ve just been taken for granted or walked all over?
What is Forgiveness
Forgiveness is so much more than simply accepting someone’s apology. The truth is, many times you may not get an apology from the person who hurt you. Forgiveness is the decision to actively let go of the resentment and desire for revenge you feel for someone who has hurt you. That does not mean the person who hurt you is any less responsible for their actions and it may still mean the end of the relationship. You can forgive someone without absolving them of their guilt. Forgiveness simply put means you have chosen not to let the hurt eat away at you. Forgiveness means you move away from the hurt with positivity.
Health Benefits of Forgiveness
By harnessing the power of forgiveness and practicing it you’ll reap many health benefits, including:
- Less stress
- Less anxiety
- A sense of calmness
- Stronger immune system
- Lower blood pressure
- Lessened depression
How to Forgive
Forgiveness in theory is much easier than forgiveness in practice. Forgiveness is an action that must be practiced routinely at first if one hopes to achieve it. By choosing to forgive you become more compassionate. You may even come to understand why someone hurt you. This does not mean you are making it excuses for their behavior, it just means you have a greater understand of how everyone is human. We all make mistakes. While it helps to have received a sincere apology from the person who hurt you, that won’t always be possible due to many factors such as death, distance or unwillingness. Thankfully, you don’t need an apology to forgive someone. In order to forgive you might find it helpful to practice several of these tips for forgiveness. There is no right or wrong way, just choose the ones that work for you.
Give Yourself Time
When you’ve been hurt it can be difficult, if not nearly impossible, to forgive the other person right away. That’s ok. Take your time. You don’t owe anyone but yourself the power of forgiveness so do it on your schedule. Take the necessary time to lick your wounds before offering your forgiveness. However, don’t wallow in self pity, that isn’t going to help you at all. A short lived pity party of a few hours is harmless, but try to end that party as soon as possible.
The easiest way to start to forgive is to simply move on. The act that hurt you is over. Let it go and move on. Realize that was simply a moment in time, and it hurt, but now it is over.
Stop Blaming and Start Understanding
We all do things for a variety of reasons and it can be nearly impossible to know why someone did something that could hurt another person, but to continually blame someone really doesn’t facilitate forgiveness. Blaming the other keeps you mired in the past instead of looking forward to the future. Even if you don’t understand why someone did what they did you can understand how the action made you feel – and you can own that. “Yes, your action hurt me. Yes, I feel wounded and want to lash out. Yes, I will move on, with help if necessary, because I won’t allow your action to continue to hurt me.”
Be Like Rain on a Duck
Ever notice how rain just rolls off the back of duck? Be like the duck and don’t let the hurt soak in. Let it roll right off of you.
Forgiveness isn’t easy, but it does get easier with time. Forgiveness is an action that takes practice so don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself filled with resentment and the desire for revenge after you thought you’d forgiven someone. You may find you have to forgive someone many times depending on the act that caused you so much pain. The person who hurt is responsible for that first betrayal, but if you refuse to forgive and move on, the pain is on you.