It’s hard to forgive someone when he or she has broken your trust. Not only does it make you feel vulnerable, it makes you feel weak and powerless. But the act of forgiving requires more strength than one might imagine.
We’ve all heard that doing the right thing is never easy. But I believe that performing a physical or verbal act, is easier than conveying an emotion. Letting go of a feeling or changing your mind about something wholeheartedly, requires a different level of self-awareness. It’s easy to say, “I’m sorry,” but feeling sorry requires a deeper connection that takes time and mental strength.
Forgiveness, like the concept of happiness, is a concept we can strive for in many ways. For some people, forgiveness just happens, for the rest of us, the process would be made a little easier if there were guidelines to follow.
How do you know if you need to forgive? It takes time and deep self-reflection to see if something or someone is making you unhappy. If they have the power to make you feel unhappy, then perhaps you truly haven’t escaped from that moment. The feeling of hate might be making you bitter. This is when you realize that you need to forgive in order to move on.
One might start with understanding what went wrong; it is in human nature to overthink things. Sometimes you may have animosity towards a person, but upon reflection you realize that you have no real reason to be angry at this person. There’s a saying that I heard about a month ago that has truly changed my outlook on life: “Life’s not that deep.” For this step, assess the situation as a whole and see if you’re over analyzing or involving yourself in something that you don’t necessarily need to be in.
After establishing that forgiveness is necessary, the hard battle of forgiveness mostly needs to be fought within oneself. But here are some tips to guide you in that process.
1. Focus on being kind instead of being right. It’s important to stand up for yourself, yes, but it’s just as important to be able to walk away from a situation and let go.
2. When we blame others, we tend to absorb some of the negativity that we are radiating onto others. Even if this negativity cannot clearly be seen in our actions, it takes a toll on us. By holding onto the poison that makes us hate, our toxicity increases, and we are no longer clear minds or pure souls in thoughts or intentions. Holding onto grudges makes us hostages to our past.
3. Instead of being a toxic landfill that aims to make others suffer, focus on being malleable like water. Don’t change or be affected by the pebbles people throw at you. Even if the pebble causes an initial dent or splash, it will eventually sink, and like water, you can continue on your course.
4. Let go. Letting go is an important theme in forgiveness. In order to truly forgive someone, one needs to let go and move on.
You yourself are your own judge of forgiveness. You alone can decide if you’ve truly forgiven someone for their actions, or if you are still holding onto something.
But how can you tell if you’ve truly forgiven someone? Like many emotions, letting go can be confusing. The human mind is wired to block many of the deeper feelings that can hurt us and force us into a whirlpool of ruminations that distract us from everyday activities. Forgiveness is felt by deep inner peace and freedom from ill thoughts concerning the subject of forgiveness. The action of forgiving allows one to let go of negativity and focus on positive energy. There is more you can gain as a person from letting go and forgiving than holding on to animosity. So next time someone has clearly wronged you, think about how you can benefit by forgiving.