Courtesy of stayseas2001

Pain or hurt inflicted by others can be a challenge to overcome. You’ve lost trust in that person, or maybe people in general. You might struggle to concentrate as your mind keeps ruminating about the pain. It’s hard for you to let go, and relationships are impacted.

Forgiveness is a way to let go, accept the pain, and move on. This is easier said than done, but it’s about healing inner wounds. You have a choice to keep suffering or to move on and live your life. By making the choice to forgive, you are making the choice to care for yourself, rid yourself of toxic emotions that fester, and give yourself the time and mind space to focus on the positives in your life.

Now don’t get me wrong. Forgiveness is not about agreeing with what the person did to you. It doesn’t mean you have to forget the experience or accept less for yourself. It’s about validating your pain and letting go of it.

Paul Rushton (The Home Therapist, 2012, Ch 14 – Forgiveness) outlines some of the strategies for forgiveness below:

  • Decide that you plan to forgive the person for his/her actions.
  • Choose to focus on the other person’s perspective or reason for the action. Make an attempt to understand why it happened. Was it accidental or out of ignorance? We all make mistakes that impact others as we’re all human.
  • Be aware that by forgiving others, you are empowering yourself and taking back control of your life.
  • Write a letter to the other person to express your feelings. You don’t have to send this letter, but this is a strong way to let go of emotions and move forward.
  • By not forgiving, you have an ongoing connection with this other person and he/she will always take space in your mind.

My Own Strategies:

  • Write about your pain in a journal to explore your feelings towards that person.
  • Choose to confront the person (if safe to do so).
  • If you’ve been hurt by a few people, start by forgiving the action that hurts the least then move to the hardest person to forgive (with the strongest emotions).
  • Talk to a counsellor or psychologist about your difficulty with forgiveness if the issue impacts daily functioning.
  • Explore what you’ve learned about yourself or your life from the person who harmed you. You can learn to gain meaning from the experience.
  • Practise meditation and focus on the person in a loving way. Check out the Bhuddist meditation strategy – ‘Loving Kindness Meditation.’
  • Nurture your inner child by caring for yourself, and challenging your thoughts about forgiveness. For example, tell yourself, ‘he/she hurt me because he/she didn’t know better but I can still learn to trust others. I will follow my intuition next time.’
  • Attempt to look at the goodness in others. Realise that other people’s actions don’t imply they’re bad people. It’s their behaviour and the wrong choices they’ve made.

Forgiveness is about letting go of pain. If you struggle to forgive the other person, give yourself time to acknowledge and sit with your emotions. Use the strategies above, but best of all, take great care of yourself.

Comment below about how difficult forgiveness was for you and how you overcame it.