Learning to Forgive Others

Learning to let go and forgive is a noble act. It can help you find peace with yourself and others around you. However great the benefits, though, it’s not always an easy thing to achieve. 

Small transgressions are easy to forgive and forget. But those aren’t usually the ones that give us heartburn and sleepless nights. It’s the big hurt from the closest people that you may feel the need to cling onto. You might tell yourself that you’ve let it go, but ultimately, if the memories of how you were betrayed continue to plague you and seep into your other relationships, you haven’t truly let go. In these tough situations, there are techniques that you can use to finally let go and find peace. 

Learning to Forgive

It’s important to learn to forgive and to understand that forgiveness is a process rather than a one time act. Holding onto grudges or resentments only hurts you. It can lead to bad moods, depression, or even more severe physical health conditions. When you hold onto resentment, you allow a situation to burden your future.

Forgiveness is the right choice to make, but it doesn’t mean that you’ve forgotten what has happened. You might even still hold someone else accountable for the wrong. Forgiveness simply means that  you’re making the intentional decision to move on with your life.

It means that, while you might not ever completely forget the pain, you’ll still be able to live your daily life without dwelling on that pain. When you see the person who has wronged you, you won’t immediately or deliberately think of or bring up the situation that caused your hurt.

How to Forgive

There’s no set rule on how you should approach forgiveness. For some, it starts with a confrontation, or conversation with the offender; while for others forgiveness starts and ends with some much needed introspection. No matter how you choose to approach it, most people know deep down when it’s time to forgive. When you find yourself constantly replaying a situation in your head over and over, or bringing up feelings of bitterness or plotting retaliation, it’s time to let it go and forgive. 

In order to forgive, you need to be willing to welcome and allow a change to take place in your life. Be ready to accept apologies that have never been given and make “getting closure” a personal, internal requirement rather than being dependent on the other person. Find the compassion within to make peace with the past. You’ll gradually begin to feel the change in your heart as you let the resentment go and make room for positive feelings.

Yes, this can be especially difficult if the person you’re dealing with is resistant to change, doesn’t acknowledge your hurt or worse still, doesn’t even care about your forgiveness. In this situation, remember that you’re searching for peace for yourself and not for them. It isn’t about making the other person feel better; it’s about making you feel better. 

Letting Go

Once you’ve found it in your heart to forgive, it’s time to work on letting go. This step can be extremely difficult and is often where we get stuck, yet it’s the most important step. Letting go simply means that you’re not fighting battles in your mind anymore. 

One way to let go is to adopt the attitude of a present moment or forward thinker. Spend as much time as you can truly experiencing life in the moment and planning for your future. It’s when the past and negative thinking creep up on you that problems are likely to occur. When this happens, do whatever is in your power to ease your mind. You’ll find that as time goes by, people and the hurts that they have caused do get easier to deal with. 

Remember that letting go is the best thing you can do for yourself. You certainly don’t enjoy holding onto anger and resentment, so why continue? Ask yourself if those feelings are really serving a purpose for you. Then make the choice to forgive. You’ll be glad you did!

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