Why Is Forgiveness So Hard?
Why is forgiveness so hard? What makes us want to forgive someone who has hurt us deeply? Is it because we don’t want to let them off the hook? Or does it mean that we’ve forgiven ourselves?
Forgiveness is something we often take for granted. We tend to forget that forgiving someone else means letting go of our anger or resentment towards them.
In other words, it means giving them a chance to change their behavior.
Forgiving someone isn’t always easy. Sometimes, we may even resent them for hurting us. But it’s important to remember that forgiveness is a choice.
If you want to move forward in life, you’ll need to forgive those who have wronged you.
How To Forgive
The concept of forgiveness is very important in life. In fact, research shows that forgiving others makes us happier. However, it can also be quite challenging to forgive someone who has hurt us.
Forgiving someone who has hurt us is a big step forward in our lives. It helps us move on from the pain they caused us. If you want to improve your relationships, then you need to start practicing forgiveness.
Here are some ways to get started.
Realize That You Can’t Control Someone Else’s Actions
Forgiving someone who has hurt you means letting them off the hook. When you hold onto your anger and resentment, you are basically punishing yourself. This isn’t fair because you didn’t cause the problem.
The person who hurt you did. So why punish yourself by holding onto their actions?
Understand Your Feeling
When you hold onto your anger toward someone who has hurt you, you are not only hurting yourself, but you are also taking away the chance to understand what happened.
Understanding how you felt when the other person hurt you will help you to forgive him or her.
Get Clear On What You Need From Them
If you’ve been holding a grudge against someone for years, chances are they don’t know why. They may not even be able to remember doing anything that would warrant your anger.
So before you forgive them, make sure you understand exactly what you want from them.
What do you need in order to feel better? You might say “I just want to be friends again.” Or maybe you want them to apologize. Whatever it is, write down your needs clearly.
Then, when you decide to forgive them, you can tell them directly what you expect of them.
Let Go Of Anger And Resentment
It’s easy to blame someone else for causing harm. But if you really think about it, it was probably your own fault. Blaming someone else doesn’t solve anything. Instead, try to look at things objectively.
Try to see things as they were instead of how you feel about them now.
Don’t Hold On To Guilt Or Shame
You shouldn’t feel guilty or ashamed because of the way another person treated you. Holding onto guilt or shame will only make you miserable. Remember that you don’t deserve any punishment for what happened.
Focus On What You Have Gained From The Relationship
If you are angry with someone who has hurt you and you decide to forgive them, you need to focus on the good times you had together.
Think back over the memories you shared and remember the positive aspects of the relationship.
Don’t let their behavior dictate how you feel.
Think about it: if you were upset with someone who had hurt you, wouldn’t you want them to change their behavior before you forgave them? Of course!
That’s how relationships work. The problem is, people often use other people’s actions as an excuse for their own bad behavior.
For example, if you find out that your friend was cheating on his/her spouse, you might think, “Well, I guess he/she deserved it.”
It’s understandable; after all, you didn’t cheat on your partner. But this kind of thinking doesn’t help you forgive him/her. Instead, try focusing on the person’s character.
Think about whether you like them, respect them, and admire them. If you still feel angry, then ask yourself why. Is it because they cheated on their spouse? Or is it because they lied to you?
Maybe you really have no idea why you’re mad at them. In any case, once you figure it out, you’ll be more likely to forgive them.
Take Responsibility For Yourself
If you decide to forgive someone who has harmed you, you need to take responsibility for your emotions. You need to accept that you are responsible for feeling the way you do.
You can’t blame anyone else for making you feel this way.
Be Honest With Yourself
Be honest with yourself about your feelings. Ask yourself whether you truly want to forgive someone who has wronged you.
If you find that you still harbor ill feelings towards them, then perhaps you aren’t ready to forgive.
Give Yourself Time
Give yourself time to heal emotionally before you attempt to forgive someone. It may take weeks or months to fully recover from being hurt.
If you rush into forgiving someone who has hurt you without giving yourself enough time to heal, you could end up resenting them again.
Find Ways To Reconnect With Them
Once you are ready to forgive someone who has been harmful to you, you need to reconnect with them. Reestablishing contact with the person who has hurt you will help you feel better about yourself.
Express Your Gratitude
Expressing gratitude for everything that person did for you will help you to feel more comfortable around them. Showing appreciation for the person who has hurt your feelings will help you to move forward in a healthy way.
Forgiveness is something that everyone should strive for. It helps us move forward and live life without regrets. In fact, research shows that forgiving others makes us happier and healthier.
Forgiving someone who has hurt us is easier said than done. It takes time and effort to get over our anger and resentment towards them. The good news is that forgiveness is possible.
Here are some ways to overcome the obstacles that stand between you and forgiveness.
So next time you’re struggling to forgive someone, take one step back. Ask yourself what you need from them, and then focus on their character instead of their behavior.
Finally, be willing to give them a chance to show you that they’ve changed. Once you do, you’ll see that forgiveness is possible.
Author: Michelle Landeros, LMFT
Michelle Landeros is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist (LMFT). She is passionate about helping individuals, couples and families thrive.
Last updated: September 24, 2023