When someone wrongs us, it can be difficult to forgive them. We may feel like they don’t deserve our forgiveness, or that forgiving them will just make us feel worse in the end. However, true forgiveness is not about the other person at all – it’s about freeing ourselves from our own negative emotions. Here are ten steps to truly forgiving someone.
1. Understand what forgiveness is
The first step to truly forgiving someone is knowing what forgiveness means. Forgiveness isn’t about forgetting what happened or minimizing the damage that was done – it’s not excusing their behavior, it’s not pretending like they didn’t hurt you, and it’s certainly not condoning their actions. It’s about letting go of the anger and resentment that may be holding you back from feeling free, happy, and whole.
2. Understand what forgiveness isn’t
The next step to truly forgiving someone is learning what forgiveness isn’t. Forgiveness isn’t about reconciliation with the person who hurt you; it’s not about asking for their forgiveness, and it’s not about attempting to restore the relationship to where it used to be. It’s about you – not them.
3. Identify what you are feeling
The next step is to identify exactly how you are feeling about this person who wronged you, says the best psychiatrist in Bhopal. Do you feel angry? Do you feel hurt? Maybe they took something from you that have left a gap in your life? Maybe they shattered your trust in people in general? Forgiveness can’t happen until we’ve identified what we’re feeling and figured out why we’re feeling that way.
4. Figure out why these feelings exist
Once we know what we’re feeling, the next step is to figure why those feelings exist in the first place. Why do you feel angry? Maybe this person lied to you, causing you to lose trust in them. Maybe they took something that belonged to you, violating your boundaries and making it difficult for you to forgive them. Maybe they are a family member who continually hurts you, hurting your feelings over and over again with no regard for how their actions affect you.
5. Acknowledge that these feelings are valid
You can’t truly forgive someone unless you acknowledge the validity of your emotions. Anger is a natural reaction to being hurt, and its okay to feel angry about what this person did to you. The more we ignore our feelings, the more likely they are to come back later in unhealthy ways like self-destructive behavior or self-sabotage. Acknowledging your feelings is an important step toward emotional well-being.
6. Take responsibility for how you feel
When someone wrongs us, it’s easy to blame them for how we’re feeling. However, if we can recognize that they may have contributed to our feelings, but they aren’t the entire reason why we feel the way we do, we can take a step toward truly forgiving them. This is especially important for situations where someone has done something so bad it makes it incredibly difficult to forgive them at all. You have to acknowledge that your feelings are valid before you can truly forgive someone who has irreparably wronged you.
7. Recognize that even if you don’t feel like it, forgiveness is a choice
Many of us think of forgiveness as something that happens naturally – when we get over the hurt and anger, we’ll be able to forgive this person simply because time has passed or because they said they were sorry. However, unless there was a major change of heart on their part (which usually isn’t going to happen without some effort on their part), that’s not how it works. Forgiveness is a choice, and choosing to forgive can be incredibly freeing for us even if we don’t feel ready.
8. Let go of the hope that things will change
This is one of the hardest steps in truly forgiving someone – letting go of the hope that this person will change their ways and make things right again. Trust me – it may never happen, especially if they’ve done something unforgivable. It’s okay to wish for good outcomes; however you cannot let your expectations stop you from taking action toward forgiveness. If anything, holding on to this “hope” just makes it harder for you to move because you’re stuck waiting around for someone else to do something.
9. Recognize that you don’t need this person’s forgiveness
Forgiveness isn’t about them; it’s about us, and our journey toward healing mentally. This person not forgiving you doesn’t affect your worth as a human being; forgiving ourselves for the wrongs we’ve done is incredibly freeing, even if the wronged party never forgives us. You can still feel like a whole, complete person all on your own – you don’t need someone else’s permission to reclaim your self-worth.
10. …but you may find peace in their forgiveness
Letting go of needing this person to forgive you doesn’t mean letting go of the possibility of receiving their forgiveness someday. Maybe this person will come to forgive you; maybe they won’t, but either way, if someone has wronged you in some way it may be helpful for them to hear that you’ve forgiven them. It can help them heal from their mistakes and let go of the weight of the guilt they feel. You don’t have to express it if you don’t want to – sometimes a simple “I forgive you” is enough. However, if saying something out loud feels helpful, speak from your heart and let them know what this situation meant for your self-reflection.
Forgiveness is one of the most powerful tools we have in our arsenal. It can free us from emotional pain, and it can help us to maintain healthy relationships. But forgiving someone isn’t always easy.