When someone wrongs you in a manner that causes significant distress or anguish, the idea of forgiveness can seem hard to comprehend.
You may hear stories of others who have practiced forgiveness and wonder just how they are able to get to that point in their healing journey. Though it is certainly not always an easy or quick process, coming to terms with a hurtful past event and forgiving the person or people involved is worthwhile concerning improving your mental and emotional wellbeing.
If you are struggling with forgiveness, then these eight techniques can help you learn how to achieve that which you may not think is possible.
1. Realize That Everyone Makes Mistakes
No person is without fault, and human action can sometimes affect others in negative ways, whether inadvertently or intentionally. When learning how to forgive someone, keep in mind that you are likely to have been extended forgiveness at some time in your past. Be appreciative of this, and you may have an easier time responding in kind.
2. Recognize That Negative Energy Is Damaging
Holding onto anger, bitterness, resentment and a desire for revenge prevents you from progressing onward with your life in a fulfilling and healthy manner. Try to forgive harmful actions, hard as it may be, as doing so will facilitate positive energy, personal growth and freedom from destructive thoughts. Do not give someone else the power to hinder you from being your best self.
3. Understand That Forgiveness Does Not Mean Acceptance Of Hurt
Many people mistakenly equate the concept of forgiving those who have harmed them with permitting those same individuals to continue influencing their lives. Know that forgiveness does not mean forgetting your pain, accepting shoddy treatment or allowing additional hurt.
If you know that the person with whom you have conflict is not remorseful, then extend forgiveness only for your peace of mind and do not feel guilty about ceasing contact.
4. Give Yourself Permission To Rewrite The Narrative
If you continually “replay” an argument in your mind and wish you had approached the conflict differently, then try “rewriting” your mental script according to how you would have liked things to have transpired.
Give yourself the opportunity, even if internally, to air out your grievances toward the other person. This exercise can help you to regain a sense of control over being hurt, which can then foster feelings of forgiveness.
5. Get To A Safe Place Mentally And Physically
Feeling unsafe in your physical or mental space may be a large factor in preventing you from being able to forgive grievous actions. Take care of yourself, and do what you must to ensure your overall safety from the possibility of additional wrongdoing. With time and healing, forgiveness may be an option that you are ready to explore.
6. Know That You Do Not Need To Reach Out To Forgive
You may be hesitant to offer forgiveness because you do not wish to reach out to a certain person or people and would rather not convey the sentiment directly. Ease your worries with the knowledge that forgiveness does not have to be given in words. You can still find resolution by processing your emotions in your own mind and keeping your thoughts to yourself.
7. Talk To Neutral Parties About Your Feelings
When you are too “close” to an issue to consider forgiveness, try confiding in a neutral, trustworthy party about the situation in order to gain a clearer perspective. This practice may be especially useful if you know that the person who has hurt you is sorry and would like to make amends. Talk to a counselor, mentor or other impartial individual so that you can work on trying to forgive.
8. Remember That Living Well Brings Peace
Forgiveness for past wrongs sometimes develops naturally over time if you invest your energy into living a rich, productive and happy life. Try to live well, with help from meditation, supportive people and fulfilling activities. You may discover that when you are at peace in a truly enlightened existence, your capacity to forgive those who do not share the same fortune is increased.