According to the Webster Dictionary, to forgive is “to stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong); to stop blaming (someone).” Webster apparently hadn’t been screwed over in his life, because we all know it just isn’t that easy.
Forgiveness is a tricky thing. It’s easier said than done. Forgiving takes strength, patience, and practice. At some point in our lives, we all come to the crossroads where we need to decide if we should forgive the person who wronged us or to let them go. There is never a right or wrong answer, and it is a personal decision. If you choose to forgive someone, it may not have been the same choice that your friend would have made in your shoes. And that’s okay, because this is your life, not theirs. The most important thing you must know is that forgiveness is a CHOICE. When you choose to forgive, you have made a decision in your heart that you still desire that person to be in your life. Now really sure where to start? Read on….
1.) Know that forgiveness doesn’t mean you are validating that what hurt you is okay
First of all, when you forgive, know that it does not mean that you are fine with what happened. Forgiveness is choosing to accept what happened and making a choice to move forward in your life. It is the first step towards self-healing.
2.) Let go of the past
When you make a decision to forgive, you are making a commitment to let go of the past. It doesn’t mean that it will be forgotten; it means that you are cutting ties with it. No more bringing up the past to your significant other or friend who did you wrong. No more blaming, pointing figures, or fighting. It is over with. What’s done is done. You can’t change the past, so why hold onto it? Self-healers choose to learn from the past and let it go.
3.) Clean slate
Start a clean slate with the person who you are forgiving. If you feel bottled up resentment that is seconds away from spewing out of you, maybe you are not ready to forgive. People who choose to forgive have thought long and hard about it, and have decided that they are ready to move on without holding a grunge. To forgive is to take those heavy bricks off your back and stop walking on eggshells. It requires moving forward knowing that you are being the bigger person and choosing love over hate.
4.) Find inner peace
This step will probably be the most difficult. Even if you have chosen forgiveness and are willing to let go of the past, it is extremely hard to move forward in life as if everything is back to normal. You need to find inner peace. This can be done in many ways. My advice: Focus on yourself and bettering yourself as a person. Even though you weren’t at fault, focusing on yourself will create positive energy. Choose to talk to a close, supportive friend about what happened. Work out. Write about your feelings. Start a new goal. Start a project. Spend time with that sibling you never see anymore. Visit a friend who you lost touch with. Do things that make you PROUD OF YOURSELF. Focusing your energy on yourself instead of hate is much more peaceful and gratifying.
Forgiveness is a choice. You are not a doormat for choosing to forgive. You are not an idiot for giving that person a second chance. You are strong and have a big heart, which is something to be extremely proud of. You were not at fault. You have chosen love over hate.