Let me start by saying that you clicked on this because when you read the title, you had a “them” in mind, and there is probably some part of you that knows you should forgive them. Often, we find ourselves fighting an internal battle with one side telling us that they do not deserve our forgiveness, while the opposing side is saying the contrary.
You should not fall victim to the first side, the one that relentlessly tugs on your heart and nags you to try and make you remember, again and again, whatever it was that the person did and how much it affected you. By refusing to forgive someone, you are likely only doing harm to yourself because to forgive is to let go. And when you don’t let go, it weighs you down. You may feel empowered by thinking to yourself “they don’t deserve my forgiveness, so they’re not getting it!”, when, in reality, you’re giving them the power to occupy your thoughts and to stick around. And holding onto motives that are negatively-driven will never do neither yourself nor anyone else any good.
So instead of refusing to forgive them, release their hold on you. This doesn’t mean you must forget whatever it was they did. But use this memory as a lesson for the future, as a reminder of how you want others to treat you and in turn, how you should treat others.
It’s important to note that by forgiving someone, you’re not invalidating your own feelings. People hurt one another, and it’s natural and okay to acknowledge and feel that. It can be hard to force forgiveness when you still feel the need to heal after being hurt. But again, refusing to depart from feelings such as anger, betrayal, and sorrow only prolongs the process of healing, which increases the difficulty of truly forgiving someone.
So, if someone hurts you, don’t let them continue to do so by letting their actions hold on tight with an unrelenting grasp on your heart. Instead, remove this hold, piece by piece, until it’s released and you have forgiven them. Do it for yourself, because you deserve peace.