Release Resentments with Forgiveness
Are you feeling resentful? Are you wondering how the power of forgiveness can help? Then, this blog is for you!
It’s totally normal to tote anger, resentment, and even self-blame around like a luxury handbag when you’ve been betrayed or hurt in some way by someone (or multiple someones) you deeply trusted. But if you don’t deal with the feelings, they can start hurting you (and holding you back!) more than the other person ever did. Plus, you need to be able to trust others on a deep level to get to the next level. But you can’t trust new people without first forgiving those who’ve broken your trust in the past.
I know that might sound like an extremely tall order–especially if you’ve been through some really deep and hurtful “stuff.” But I promise, you can learn to forgive anyone for anything, once and for all. This blog post is loaded with tips that can help your deal successfully with all your forgiveness challenges!
5 Things to Remember When Someone You Love Needs Forgiveness
Things go wrong in relationships. This is normal. We’re human. Sometimes we don’t act in the best ways, even with someone we love. We say things we don’t mean or act impulsively in ways that hurt the other. Worse, we sometimes become petty and resentful, going out of our way to say or do something unkind in the heat of the moment.
When we’re the ones at fault, we sooner or later come to realize where we acted in less than stellar ways, making a point to apologize and even to make amends where needed. We understand the only way to move forward is to seek forgiveness and hope the other person is willing to grant it.
What about when the shoe is on the other foot, though? How quick are you to offer up forgiveness when you’ve been wronged by someone you love? This can seem more difficult, especially when the other person might not seem particularly sorry enough to your way of thinking, or worse hasn’t apologized at all. Is there still a way to forgive and move forward?
There is a way to forgive and move forward if you can remember these things:
You Can Only Control You
You can’t force the other person to be repentant or even willing to acknowledge how they hurt you. This isn’t something you can make happen. On the other hand, you can control yourself. By making a conscious decision to let go of the hurt and move past it, you’re putting yourself back in the driver’s seat.
You’re Going to Feel What You Feel
There is no right or wrong in your emotions. You have a right to be sad, angry, upset, or whatever it is you feel right now. The key? Not letting these emotions own you. Accept what you’re feeling and when you’re done? Let it go.
These kinds of situations are very rarely one-sided. What was your part in all of this? Did you perhaps help create this situation? (This might be a good place to recognize where you possibly need to tender your own apology).
Stop Making Things Worse
One bad turn frequently leads to another. When someone has hurt you, it’s easy to pile on the offenses to justify your feelings, remembering other hurts, either real or perceived. This never helps anything and only serves to harden your heart and make it more difficult to move on.
Decide Your Next Action
In the end, what do you really want to do? You can live in the past and hold onto the pain, turning this into a grudge. Alternatively, you can act now to restore a relationship you’re already invested heavily in and get past all this. The power of forgiveness is yours to give. It’s up to you to use it.
6 Steps for Forgiving Someone Who Isn’t Sorry
It seems so simple when we’re children. We are taught to apologize from a young age. The rules are simple. If you hurt someone’s feelings, say you’re sorry. The other person responds almost automatically with three simple words: “I forgive you.” Simple, right?
Think back. How many of those apologies sounded a little forced? We might have become adept at saying the words but meaning them? Not quite. As a result, we got smarter and savvier. We quit forgiving quite so easily.
Maybe this wasn’t as ideal as we thought. Unfortunately, this wasn’t good for us. Unforgiveness has negative effects on our health. We don’t feel good. We spend time wallowing in self-pity and start thinking of ourselves as victims. How can we forgive someone who isn’t sorry?
Choose to Forgive
The process starts with the obvious: making a conscious decision, you will forgive the other person. If it helps, speak your intention out loud.
Erase the Timeline
We expect things are going to be fixed the moment we make the decision to forgive. This can be more complicated when the other person isn’t apologizing or even part of the process. We might still carry some resentment with us or have a harder time letting go of the hurt than we originally expected. Remember this is a process and will take time. You might need to remind yourself of your intent more than once and give yourself several days, weeks, or even months before you truly feel it.
Recognize Who This is For
At this point, you’re not giving the other person forgiveness for them. You’re doing it for you. This is an important distinction to make and should help in the process.
Consider the Angles
Why isn’t the other person apologizing? How are they interpreting the situation? It might help to know the answer to these questions. Try empathy, seeing things through their eyes. With this understanding, you might have an easier time forgiving.
Release the Emotion
Find a way to express what you’re feeling. Writing a letter to the other person or journaling about your emotions can be a powerful way to work through your anger, pain, or disappointment. This isn’t necessarily anything you need to share with the other person. Just speaking these things in private can help enormously.
Finally, Let it Go
Once you have accepted the situation, nothing is left to hold you here. Step back from whatever caused the pain and instead face forward into the future, with nothing holding you back.
3 Reasons We Don’t Want to Forgive Our Partner – and Why We Should Anyway
It can seem scary when things go wrong in a relationship. This is because we share so much intimacy with our partner, making us feel vulnerable and unsure, especially when the other person lets us down in some way. It’s no wonder our first reaction might be to cut and run rather than try to work through the problem.
The thing is, while we might not want to forgive our romantic partner, there are a lot of good reasons why we should. Let’s explore this idea a little more.
They Don’t Deserve It
This reason comes straight from all those feelings of hurt and betrayal you’re feeling right now. You want the other person to suffer because you’re suffering. Weirdly, it even seems fair.
The Fix? You’re speaking from emotion, lashing out at the person you love. Take a step back and remember all those reasons why you want to share your life with this person. Deep down, do you really want to hurt them? Or is it more accurate to say you want them to understand how much they hurt you? Forgiveness here should involve a conversation about both your feelings.
I Was Right
The problem with this thinking is you’re keeping score, as though coming out ahead on the argument means you win somehow. This isn’t healthy and probably isn’t even accurate.
The Fix? Rather than worry about who got in the last word, it’s better to remember you’re supposed to be partners and supportive of one another. Forgiveness allows you to step back from this kind of childish one-upmanship and acknowledge your own flaws while becoming more accepting of the flaws of others.
I Don’t Trust Them*
Betrayal is difficult, especially when the other person knows you so intimately. You’re probably feeling a little bit like things aren’t equal in the relationship anymore, as though you don’t know them half as well as they probably know you.
The Fix? Forgiveness helps you step into the other person’s shoes and see where they’re coming from. Were there reasons for this betrayal that you might not have understood? Was this a mistake or misunderstanding? Of course, not every argument falls into this category, but sometimes this kind of examination might reveal factors you weren’t aware were there and make it easier to forgive.
*Please note: Always trust your instincts. If your partner is acting in an abusive way, it’s best to talk with someone. The National Domestic Abuse Hotline can be reached anytime at 1-800-799-7233.
6 Ways to Step Past the Hurt and Forgive Someone Who Betrayed You
Betrayal never feels good. Whether the offender deliberately set out to hurt you or somehow betrayed your trust by accident, the same outcome. You feel hurt, mistrustful, and angry. This is all part of being hurt, and it’s very normal.
Unfortunately, this kind of anger is more damaging to you than the one who betrayed you. Resentment takes a toll on your physical and mental health. But forgiveness can help. How can you muster forgiveness?
Feel it All
What emotions are running through you right now? Rather than trying to squelch them, allow yourself to experience the hurt, the anger, and the pain. The key is not to get caught up in repeating the emotions but to know when to let them go, replacing the negative with something more positive.
Guide Your Anger
Being mad generally causes people to choose one of two actions. Destructive anger wants revenge and focuses on the pain and hurt, becoming obsessive and even dangerous. Constructive anger forgives the transgressor and becomes the fuel toward positive change. Why not use it to set yourself in motion and get things done over holding a grudge that will only get you nowhere?
Forgiveness doesn’t mean you’re saying what happened was okay. On the contrary, you’re accepting someone wronged you. End of story. With this realization, it can become easier to let go of the negative emotions associated with the betrayal, so you can move on.
Remember to Breathe
Take a moment before responding to the betrayal. Deep breaths give you time to consider the situation. Forgiveness allows you to step back and refuse to allow things to escalate further.
Recognize the Relationship
Is it worth losing a friend or family member forever because of something they did? Is the relationship worth saving? Remembering you care about this person helps you forgive even when you might not feel like it initially. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should allow people to treat you badly. Forgiveness might include setting some new boundaries. At the same time, it allows you to keep someone important in your life.
Refuse to Be the Victim
Finally, when you stay in unforgiveness, you’re holding onto the fact someone could hurt you, making you a perpetual victim. Forgiveness allows you to take back control, and yes, even sometimes to be the bigger person. Which sounds better to you?
While none of this makes forgiveness any easier, it does allow you to gain perspective on the situation and find a more positive way to move forward. The important thing to remember is to be patient with yourself and not react emotionally or hastily. It’s better to take your time and think things through as you consciously choose to forgive the other person.
5 Roadblocks to Forgiveness
We all know we should forgive those who do us wrong. We even have a pretty good knowledge of the benefits of forgiving ourselves when needed. After all, there’s no better way to mental and physical health than having a calm mind and heart.
Why then is it so hard to ‘do the right thing’?
We Don’t Want To
It’s so easy to hold onto a wrong. We even take a perverse pleasure in revisiting the hurt, kind of like picking at a scab when you know you should just let things heal. For one thing, we kind of like being victims. What better way to get validation and sympathy? For another, the more we think about what happened, the more we can keep the memory alive, feeding residual anger and resentment. The problem? Staying in the past keeps us from ever moving forward.
It’s a Distraction
Sometimes we just want to stay mad because there’s something about the encounter we don’t want to think about or deal with. Is there an underlying issue you’re avoiding? Ask yourself what you gain by not forgiving the other person. The problem? Dealing with your stuff is always healthier than avoiding it.
The last thing we want to do is to risk going through this kind of negative experience all over again. Why risk the pain of betrayal by letting go? After all, forgiving the other person only gives them the ability to hurt you all over again…doesn’t it? The problem? Never allowing anyone close enough to hurt you again can become very lonely.
It Feels More Just
Sometimes we just take a perverse pleasure in holding onto the hurt. Forgiveness can be a tool enabling the other person to move on when in truth, you want them to suffer as long as possible. The problem? The only person you’re really hurting here is yourself. The longer you hold out, the harder and more bitter you become. Is this who you really want to be?
You’re Feeling Invisible
Sometimes we think if we forgive, we’ll never be heard at all. This is especially true if the entire incident that blew up happened when the other person ignored your needs or did not pay attention to what you were trying to say. The problem? Withholding forgiveness isn’t going to force anyone to hear you. It only traps you in resentment and anger.
Stop for a moment and consider this list. Every item here has a basis for fear of some kind. We don’t forgive because we’re worried or uncertain of the outcome or are afraid the same thing will happen again. The solution? Realizing if you want to change the outcome, you’re going to have to change your response.
In sum, forgiveness puts you back in control and gives you the ability to face the future the way you want to. Isn’t this better?