Forgiveness… something that you have been taught since a very young age and yet it is still hard to do all of the time. For some people the 3 words “I forgive you” are the hardest words to speak. And true forgiveness is hard. Often times we think that when we forgive someone it is excusing their actions and this is simply not the truth – forgiving someone does not excuse their actions and forgiveness is not a sign of weakness. Forgiveness is a long process of letting go of the ill-will towards individuals who wronged you.
Many find themselves having a hard time forgiving for various reasons besides just thinking it will mean they accept the actions. You may have experienced pain and hurt and that can cause you to feel a heavy burden. You are unsure of what to do because you want to let go of the pain but are not ready to forgive the actions. It is also hard to make sense of forgiveness. At first, we are focused on the fact that they are the ones who caused us pain, they should be apologizing and why do we need to be a bigger person and forgive them? Lastly, forgiveness takes courage and a tremendous amount in fact. Letting ourselves face the pain and finally moving past it is a hard thing and can bring up those feelings of hurt all over again. But who has made significant growth in life without being courageous?
Holding onto resentment can cause more problems than one may think. Resentment, shame, guilt or pain all affect our mind and body including or heart and immune system. When one forgives someone, they are we freeing themselves from attachments to the past, and release the burden of holding in that hostility and resentment.
Like I said before, forgiveness is not a short process and does take time. Below I have included a 7 step process of reaching true forgiveness. It is originally from Cliff Hsia’s article “7 Steps to True Forgiveness” on Huffington Post. So look over these steps and try to think of ways you can begin to start them in your life. You are not weak or saying their actions were okay – you are simply accepting them and letting go of the resentment and negative feelings towards them due to the actions.
- Identify your hurt: What is the source of your hurt? Get to the root of your pain.
- Acknowledge your hurtful emotions: What exactly are you feeling? Sadness, grief, anger, pity, loneliness, jealously, hate or even depression? In order to get rid of the hurt, you must recognize your feelings.
- Forgive yourself and let go: Forgiveness must first start from within and acknowledging you were not the reason someone else hurt you. It is not your fault. This will help you begin to let go of the negative emotions associated with the hurt.
- Breathe in compassion: Start with having compassion for yourself, and then the other person. Empathize with their motivations, emotions and circumstances. Put yourself in their shoes and view the situation from their perspective.
- Forgive unconditionally: Forget about the problem and begin to move on to the solution of forgiveness. You cannot start this process if you are still focused on the situation/decision that caused the hurt. Do this with no strings attached.
- Be grateful: Through forgiveness, you will begin to empower yourself and see personal growth in both you and the forgiven. With forgiveness and the letting go of hurt feelings, you give yourself freedom to live your life as a better person and version of yourself.
- Love again: Forgiveness fills you heart with love and causes you to become even stronger. You forgive because you love, and you love because you forgive.
“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.” ― Steve Maraboli
It can be hard to forgive someone who has hurt you, and having someone along for the ride can help. Give us a call to set up a free phone consultation at Life Skills Resource Group Orlando at 407-355-7378, and one of our Orlando Individual Counselors would be more than happy to help you begin the process of letting go, forgiving and moving on. These counselors will help you finally forgive those who have cause you hurt and pain, and through this creating a new sense of freedom in your life.