“No way, how can I ever forgive them for what they did?” It can seem a massive mountain to climb when we are faced with forgiving someone, and certainly not a process that will happen with a click of our fingers or overnight. It takes time. Forgiveness can be described as the letting go of a person, an incident or a judgement.
Here are some things to think about around this topic:-
- When something has really hurt us, it can really create imbalance and disharmony in our life. In time this can turn into anger, frustration, depression as well as physical symptoms and illness.
- Forgiveness does not mean you pardon/condone/excuse someone else’s actions, this is about you being able to move on.
- You don’t even need to tell that person that you have forgiven them, again this is solely an exercise and process for you.
- What does it cost us when we don’t forgive? It can end up costing so much, time, money, relationships, our health, wellbeing and so much more. Are you prepared to let what happened keep affecting you in the present and ultimately your future?
- What does it cost for others when we don’t forgive? Our loved ones around us can also be affected when we have something we are stuck on. By working on forgiveness it enables us to start building relationships again and strengthening the ones we have.
- We cannot change the past. But we do have a choice about the future, and the chance to ensure it does not keep us held and focussed there. We can choose to release the person/incident.
- Forgiveness does not always mean restoration/reconciliation. Sometimes we are able to work on forgiveness for something that has happened, but it doesn’t mean we need to stay or return to that situation/relationship, or even have that person in our lives. It can be about forgiving and moving on.
- Forgiveness also doesn’t mean that we no longer have feelings. It is not a quick fix that makes everything okay again, but within time those feelings will lessen, you will think of it less, it will be less consuming.
- What advice might you give to someone who was going through a similar kind of suffering, to help them be free from the pain of what had happened? Can you apply any of that thinking to your own situation? The person who knows you best is YOU.
- Forgiveness is about honouring you and knowing that you deserve to move on and be happy.
I read once that forgiving is like cleaning out a wound. How well that wound heals and how long it takes depends how well it was cleaned in the first place. How soon after something has happened we get around to forgiving/cleaning the wound will also make a difference.
If we allow it to get infected ( i.e.always thinking about the incident, remaining in the past etc, repeatedly bringing it up), it can take longer to heal.
If a wound is cared for from the beginning, there will not be much of a scar. If left to fester, it may result in a nasty scar. If you try and forgive before you are ready, it may appear to be healed on the outside but can still be sore and tender on the inside, an ongoing source of pain.
Part of this process for you may also be around forgiving yourself. I remember when I learnt about this for the first time, it was a massive moment for me. Forgiving ourselves for our actions, for the way we may have hurt someone/others, or simply understand that actually we were doing the best we could with what we had at the time.
So whether you need to forgive someone else or explore forgiving yourself, remember the focus is on you. This is for you.
What are you holding on to? What requires love, focus and forgiveness? When you can truly forgive you can release the burden, set yourself free, live more in the present and look forward to a brighter future….
If you would like more help on this, then please do get in touch. Forgiveness is not a magic overnight fix, but a beautiful act of love to give yourself.