We hear it all the time. Forgiveness isn't for the other person; it's for us. So we can let go of the grudges and the past and move on with our future.
But let's be real. Forgiveness is hard.
It's hard because we feel as if we are letting the other person off easy. It's hard because we still have feelings of anger and resentment and hurt. It's hard because we don't want to let go of what happened.
But it's also hard to stay angry and let that take over our lives. It's also hard to relive what happened over and over again. And it's also hard to let go of what was.
I know that I always feel better when I've forgiven the other person, no matter what the situation is or was, or whether that person and I remained in each other's lives. I also know that it makes for a much happier version of me when I forgive others. I don't feel anger or resentment all the time, which, believe me, bleeds over into other areas of your life.
Okay... I know what you're thinking. Great, that's all easy to say, but it's SO MUCH HARDER to do! Believe me, I am right there with you! Saying the words, "I forgive you" is so much easier than actually forgiving. Sad, but true.
So how do you forgive others when they have hurt you? Especially if they aren't remorseful or haven't apologized or haven't even acknowledged they've done something wrong.
There's no magic button or list that will make it happen quickly or easily, but it's a series of steps, of things that happen over a period of time. Plus, you have to actively forgive, not just sit back and wait for it to "just happen" (we have a bad habit of sitting back and waiting for things to just happen, don't we?? But I digress.).
The first step is the hardest, at least for me. You have to allow yourself to FEEL your feelings. I know that sounds super silly and you're probably thinking, "Well, duh. How do you not feel your feelings?" It's surprising, but a lot of people bury their emotions and what they're feeling and either act like they are completely fine or they cover it up with anger. Believe it or not, anger is easier to feel than the underlying emotions of hurt or sadness or disappointment. I have a bad habit of doing this (oops!).
I also like to journal as that helps me express my feelings in a safe place and it often allows things I didn't even know I was thinking or feeling to come out too. It allows me to process a lot of what's going on, even if my journal entries tend to be all over the place. Good thing nobody else reads them!
We don't always have to understand why people hurt us, but a good thing to understand is that hurt people hurt others, and often not intentionally. Generally, when someone hurts us, it has nothing to do with us. Instead, it has everything to do with them and something going on in their lives. This is something good to remember when we are dealing with hurt and disappointment.
Another major step in forgiving someone else is to remember that we are forgiven too. God doesn't hold grudges or keep a list of things we've done wrong. He forgives us just because we've asked. How amazing is that? And because He has forgiven us, we also have that power to forgive others. When I remember this, it makes it easier for me to forgive.
Remember, forgiving someone doesn't mean you forget or you have to let that person back into your life. It simply means you have let go of your anger and hurt and resentment. You have let go of it's hold on you. And that, my friends, is the most important part!
I'd love to hear some of the ways you have found to work in forgiving others. We all have our own ways of doing so, and goodness knows I often need some help in this area. I am the worst when it comes to holding grudges (and another oops!).
I hope you all have a beautiful week! Thank you for your continued love and support and keeping my blog alive!
With love and wellness,