What does True Forgiveness look like? Have you Truly Forgiven someone? Or Did you just tell your mind that in order to ignore?
We all tell ourselves we are ready to forgive and move forward with our lives. Yet we never take a step back and truly allow our hearts and minds to heal. Forgiveness does not mean you accept the person who hurt you. Instead, it lets you accept what happened rather then what could or should have. This cycle can lock you in an unhealthy pattern causing future conflicts to open an old whom and carry an anchor from the past.
“My ex was sitting a few tables away from me at the library. I felt speechless knowing that he had power over me even after all this time. I looked at him from the corner of my eye and remembered his voice the day he told me he never loved me and that he was cheating on me. My heart was racing as I felt a rush of anxiety flow through my body. I felt hurt, angry, and most of all tremendously emotional. I thought I was over it, I thought I forgave him already…”Miller, 2020
It was at that moment when Sarah Miller realized that she didn’t fully forgive her ex. She thought if she ignored the feelings it would magically go away. But, after seeing him in the library that day, she came to realize that that was not, in fact, forgiveness.
True forgiveness becomes a long and difficult process that we tend to brush over as it makes us weak and vulnerable. We bury our pain through vices such as new relationships, alcohol, drugs, etc. Another important one is to not forgive too easily for it can trap you in a detrimental outcome such as Sarah’s.
Forgiveness is not as simple as, “I’m sorry or I forgive you,” it involves honesty, introspection, communication, and bravery. The reward of forgiveness can set you free. Now, I was compelled to write this piece from the book “The Gift of Forgiveness” by Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt. Pratt discusses forgiveness in a new light by sharing stories and concepts that shine light on how to forgive properly.
[Read: Link down below!]The Gift of Forgiveness: Inspiring Stories from Those Who Have Overcome the Unforgivable
Tips on How to Forgive
The goal toward this is to not have the same mindset on the situation and question all aspects that make you feel weak, upset, or angry. However, keep in mind that not everyone will have the same perception of the situation. Which can create gaps built on miscommunication, anger, and emotional disconnection.
This form of forgiveness is done consciously as you begin to face your pain head-on and learn to be mindful of your thoughts. In fact, I want you to take a moment right now, and ask yourself who you hold accountable for the pain, trauma, or mistake in your life.
Remind yourself of where you forgive too easily, did not communicate enough, or buried resentment that ended up reappearing in other ways. You must first learn how to deal with your pain before moving into forgiveness. Everyone is different, however, research suggests three common components to help you through the process!
4 Strategies for Discovering How to Forgive
- Logically think about the incident. Accept what had happened, how you felt about it and how you reacted. This is not a time for you to point fingers or blame. Just sit back and look at things from an unbiased perspective.
- Decrease negative feelings by acknowledging what you learned from the experience or what positive outcome resulted from it. What did you gain and how did it affect your future? Not only did you survive from this experience but maybe you grew from it without realizing, who knows?
- Think about the other person. Perspective taking can help you overcome anger and resentment. This cultivation of empathy involves connecting with oneself and the offender to understand their behavior. Humans are flawed. Think about it this way, when you were getting hurt…the other individual was trying to have their needs met. So… ask yourself, ‘what do you think they were trying to do? and why did they hurt someone else to get it?‘
- Lastly, decide whether or not you want to tell this individual you forgive them or not. Expressing how you feel after logically thinking about it can go a long way for your personal progress.
Why is Forgiveness Important?
- When you forgive, you are increasing your self-esteem and giving yourself a sense of inner strength. It can also reverse the lies that you tell yourself when someone hurt you – such as, I’m not worthy, or I’ve been defeated.
- It can help you grow to logically think about all perspectives.
- Allow you to move on and handle future conflicts better.
- If you have experienced a traumatic event then you are aware that by holding onto the pain can trigger chronic stress/ anxiety causing psychological complications in all aspects of your life.
Now, take a deep breath and set a goal for how long you choose to sit with the pain, and when you promise to let it go. Remember that we are all human and we make mistakes, and the power of asking for or giving forgiveness starts with you.
Of course, every situation is different and to some degree, it takes more than just forgiving to feel better. Working through these feelings requires you to move at your own pace without beating yourself up about feeling those emotions.
I also recommend you to surround yourself with others who make you a better person because I promise you, as you learn to love yourself, you will learn the true art of forgiveness.
Email me with any questions, I am here and ready to help you through these emotions. Our goal is for you to have a new mindset on each situation and to learn the art of forgiveness for yourself.