One part of being human and living in a world made up of humans is that being hurt by someone is almost guaranteed. There will probably be more than a few times in your life that someone you love will hurt you, let you down, or mistreat you. Our natural reaction is to want to retaliate in order to make them feel the same pain as you do, the “eye for an eye” concept.
However, holding onto a grudge and not practicing forgiveness can end up hurting you more in the end.
What Is Forgiveness?Forgiveness is hard to define as it is a highly personal process and can mean different things for different people. Generally speaking, forgiveness involves a conscious decision to let go of resentment or vengeance toward a person who has hurt you.
How Can You Begin to Forgive?
- Identify what and who you need to forgive - With the help of a professional, identify what happened to you when you were hurt and why it hurts so much.
- Say It Out Loud - Forgiveness is a conscious decision that begins in your head before it makes its way to your heart. Choose every morning to say “I forgive you, _____” out loud, hearing those words enough times will eventually make them real.
- Switch your focus - Whenever you feel pain or resentment, switch the narrative from what that person did to you to what can you do to help yourself heal. Mindfulness, exercise, and meditation are great places to start.
- Remember it is a process - Forgiveness isn’t a straight line to healing, there are ups and downs along the way. Give yourself space to feel angry even after you think you’ve completely forgiven the person who hurt you, you’ll eventually reach the point where you can fully let go.
The road to forgiveness can oftentimes feel like taking one step forward then two steps back. If you need to step into the process of forgiveness and want someone to help walk alongside you, I’d love to talk. To set up a time to chat, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office at (310) 614-0323.