Learning how to forgive someone who hurt you is, by far, one of the hardest things to master.
For one, it requires two things: the forgiveness of others, and forgiveness of yourself.
Learning how to forgive someone who hurt you is difficult because a mix of feelings are involved. Someone may have hurt you and you may feel angry, sad, disappointed – you probably feel all of these! Dissecting forgiveness from this mess of emotions may seem impossible.
But learning how to forgive someone is not an optional, it is obligatory. Life is long, full of interactions with people – some of these people may not always have the best intentions for you.
There is no doubt that, someday soon, someone else may hurt you again. Forgiveness is a way of protecting yourself and your energy.
So, now that we know that forgiveness is something we have to learn, how do we go about doing this? There is no one method to forgiving others, and different methods work for everyone.
Here are the top five tips on learning how to forgive someone who hurt you:
To start the forgiveness process, the most important thing to know what forgiveness is. And forgiveness does NOT mean you are not excusing the other person’s actions.
You do not have to make any excuses for the way someone treated you, or minimize a situation where you were wronged. What they did was wrong. Period.
Your feelings of hurt and betrayal are 100% justifiable. Nobody deserves to be hurt, especially by someone you trusted. They are the ones in the wrong, not you.
- Accept the reality
Next, you need to accept what happened.
Do you find yourself obsessing about what you could have said to the person, or other ways you could have handled the situation?
That’s your anxiety speaking. Re-living past conversations can cause further anxiety about the situation, and can make forgiveness harder to achieve.
There is nothing worse than thinking about what you could have said or what you could have done. It doesn’t make a difference!
One of the most important steps of forgiveness is learning to leave the person who hurt you in the past.
Too often we confuse forgiveness with reconciliation – the notion that we have to continue to let this person remain in our lives to forgive them. This is the opposite of what we should be doing!
Rather than allowing the person access to you and your time, forgiveness means putting yourself first. Don’t let this person hurt you again. You can forgive that person from a far.
- Forgive, but don’t forget
Forgiveness does not mean you are forgetting. You are merely deciding to let go of the hurt and pain someone caused you, and not allowing it to have any power over you.
Life has an unfortunate way of repeating life lessons until you master them. There will come a time where someone else will test your loyalty and friendship. Although you may be hurt, betrayal can be an important life lesson you will carry with you for the rest of your life.
Forgiveness allows you to heal, but forgetting these situations provide will set you up for a future betrayal later on.
- Don’t force it
If you’ve spent days thinking about the situation, trying to rationalize it in your mind, and you still can’t digest the situation and forgive this person, it’s time to take a step back.
Sometimes, the pain is too fresh to easily brush aside. Perhaps your adrenal system is still recovering from the shock of the betrayal. That’s normal!
Don’t force yourself to be fake or try to convince yourself you’re okay with the situation when you’re not.
- Forgive yourself
Part of the reason people struggle with learning how to forgive someone who hurt them is because they have problems forgiving themselves for how they handled the situation.
If nothing else, you must forgive yourself for the part you played in the situation.
Didn’t stand up for yourself hard enough? Did you allow yourself to be walked all over like a doormat? It’s okay!
You have to learn to be okay with yourself. Be proud of the fact that you walked away from a toxic situation because it’s important to be kind to yourself..
Forgiveness is not for the other person, it is for yourself. Anger is poison to one’s energy and self-development. It’s the first step is learning how to let go and forgive someone who hurt you.
What did I miss? What are your tips to learning how to forgive someone?