Forgiveness is rare in interpersonal relationships but it is absolutely necessary in order to move forward. Forgiveness is the release of resentment or anger. Forgiveness does not mean reconciliation nor does it exempt the other from guilt. You don’t have to go back to the same relationship or accept the same harmful behaviors from a person who hurt you.
Forgiveness is vitally important to the mental health of those who have been victims. It propels people forward rather than keeping them emotionally involved in injustice or trauma. Forgiveness has been shown to lift mood, improve optimism, and protect against anger, stress, anxiety, and depression.
Carrying the pain or anger of the emotional year leads the body to release stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. Eliminating the perpetual flow of those hormones may also explain why forgiveness provides physical health benefits, such as reducing the risk of high blood pressure and heart problems. There are scenarios in which forgiveness is not the best course. Sometimes a victim of sexual abuse becomes more empowered when they are given permission not to forgive.
How to forgive someone who has hurt you
Forgiveness can be challenging, especially when the offending party offers a false apology or offers nothing at all. However, it is often the healthiest way forward. There are four steps to forgiveness that you need to know to better understand how to continue on this path.
The first is discovering your anger by exploring how you have avoided or dealt with the emotion. The second is to make the decision to forgive. It begins by acknowledging that ignoring or dealing with the offense hasn’t worked, therefore forgiveness could provide a way forward. Third, cultivate forgiveness by developing compassion for the offending person. Reflect on whether the act was due to malicious intent or challenging circumstances in the offender’s life. Lastly, release harmful emotions and reflect on how you may have grown from the experience and act of forgiveness itself.
How to forgive yourself
Forgiving another person is one thing, but what happens when we commit the emotional damage ourselves? It is important to take responsibility for mistakes , but intense guilt and shame are not a desirable long-term outcome.
Forgiving yourself may seem like an ambiguous process, but some concrete steps can help. Start by acknowledging that you are at fault and take responsibility for the damage you caused. Then reflect on why the event occurred: What forces were under your control and which ones were outside of it? Draw out the lessons you learned and identify how to avoid making a similar mistake in the future.
After such reflection, forgive yourself and focus on the thought , saying it out loud or even writing it down. The last step in the process, when someone else is involved, is to apologize to the person you’ve wronged and take steps to significantly improve their life.
Forgiveness is not always easy to do because of resentment or pride. But you can be braver than that, you can come to be negative emotions that will only cause you pain. You think of forgiveness as a release from your being. Thanks to forgiveness you will be able to feel the peace and calm you need to be able to live life in harmony.
Remember that forgiveness does not mean forgetting what happened or releasing the other person from the cup for hurting you, no. Forgiveness also means learning, learning from the mistakes you made or learning that there are people who cannot be trusted or that it is better that they are removed from your life.