Without forgiveness, we remain chained to our past, which makes moving forward nearly impossible. Leaving the past behind, especially after you’ve been hurt, may sound daunting, but it’s necessary for a fulfilling future. You can’t change the wrongs that have been done to you, but you can take control of the next steps. These six ways will allow you forgive while moving forward:
1. Commit to the process
Unfortunately, there’s not one “right way” to forgive. Because each person and situation is unique, so is the forgiveness process. Some people are able to forgive quickly, while others require more time. Whichever boat you’re in, it’s important that you accept and commit to the process – no matter how long or difficult it may be. Like any other journey, the end result of forgiveness is worth the hardships.
2. Use what you learned
One of the great things about forgiveness is that you can accept a wrongdoing without forgetting it. The phrase “fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me” rings true with forgiveness. Choosing to forgive someone means not dwelling on the act, but also not forgetting that it happened. When you feel betrayed, deciding to forgive is easier by knowing that you can learn from the experience. View the act of betrayal as a lesson to be learned from and take it with you as you continue forward.
3. Realize that forgiveness equals freedom
Maya Angelo once said, “Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” The fact of the matter is, harboring a grudge hurts you more than the person who betrayed you. Choosing forgiveness is critical for moving on because you don’t deserve to suffer due to somebody else’s wrongdoing. Take inventory of how much of a burden harboring a grudge has on you. Imagine how liberating it would be to have that weight off your shoulders. Forgiveness is the only way to be free of this burden. When you’re toying with the idea of choosing forgiveness, remember that this is a decision that will better the outcome of your life.
4. Radical Acceptance of human nature
Chances are pretty high that you’ve unintentionally betrayed somebody at some point in your life. As humans, we make mistakes – they’re inevitable. This doesn’t justify the mistake, nor does it make it right, but by acknowledging this fact, we can gather some insight and empathy. You can move forward by practice radical acceptance of human nature by knowing the betrayal may actually have nothing to do with you, and everything to do with internal battles the other person is fighting.
5. Relinquish your anger
Anger is known as a secondary emotion because we use it as a form of emotional protection. When we feel “angry”, there’s usually a deeper feeling beneath the surface, such as hurt, sadness, disappointment, or disrespect. These feelings are more vulnerable, so we project anger in order to mask our primary emotions. But when we hold onto anger, we aren’t able to acknowledge how we authentically feel. Anger convinces us to seek revenge instead of acknowledging that we feel hurt. In order to choose forgiveness, we need to relinquish our anger and process our raw, primary emotions. This is the only way we can begin the process of moving on.
6. Stop dwelling
Forgiveness does not mean condoning your betrayer’s behavior or looking the other way. However, it also doesn’t mean continuing to relive the hurt. Once you’ve processed your authentic emotions, it’s crucial not to dwell on the pain you feel. Choosing forgiveness means not looking back and harboring resentment. It’s not possible to move forward when you’re still grasping onto painful memories of the past.
Forgiveness isn’t something that comes easy, but it’s essential if you want to pursue a happier future. If you’re having difficulty forgiving someone in your life and you’re feeling the effects of unforgiveness, please contact me. It’s not easy to forgive, but this one act will free your mind and emotions more than any other. Together we can move past the hurt that is keeping you stagnant.
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