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Picture this. In a reckless moment, someone you cherish uttered words that hurt you. They know they are in the wrong. They even apologized for it. Will you forgive them despite the hurt? Must you do it? If so, how do you go about it without losing your ego? More so, what if the person never apologized in the first place? Will you still forgive them?
In this quick guide, we want to teach you the art of forgiveness. For, it is a powerful tool that throws the spanner in the wheel for an effective healing process. Indeed, regardless of the hurt you feel, your healing begins with forgiving the one who hurt you. Yet, not everyone knows how to forgive the right way. As you struggle with what to say or do to approach your longtime friend after the incident, here are a few tips you can use: –
Understand the Meaning of Forgiveness
First, when we forgive someone for the hurt they cause us, it doesn’t mean that they are right and we are wrong. Neither does it mean that we tolerate what happened. It only shows that we value our relationship more than the issue at hand. Instead, anyone willing to forgive the other is looking at the future and not the present.
Second, forgiveness doesn’t have to be a verbal act. You can show someone forgiveness by your actions. Indeed, why should you tell the other you forgive them but then keep on referring to the mistake whenever a challenge arises? Hence, when you opt for silent forgiveness, follow it up with actions.
Third, the pain does not go away instantly after forgiving the other person. Yes. You still have to deal with the repercussions of the other person’s acts. Hence, you can choose to delay to talk to the other person until your emotions subside. Or, you can choose to forgive, and then work with the other person to find a solution for the problem at hand.
Finally, forgiving the other person does not mean you have to continue interacting with the person. You can choose to forgive but end your relationship. Indeed, pardoning someone enables you to move on with your life. So, whether you decide to move on with the one who hurt you or not is a personal choice.
Reflect on the Way Forward
Now that you know what forgiveness is all about, you have to deal with the issue at hand. Find a place where you can have some privacy to reflect. Here, start by thinking about the whole incident. Acceptance is your first step to forgiveness. In contrast, denial pushes you into stress and depression. Hence, plan to come to terms with reality.
Second, acknowledge the impact that this hurt has had on you. What lessons did you learn? Has this experience made you grow in maturity?
Third, think of the other person. Why do you think he did what he did to you? Usually, someone who hurts the other person has a need that he wants you to address? Can you think of any need that this person has that you probably never thought about before? And, how is he handling the situation? Does he feel any remorse? Or, is he still trying to justify his actions? Sometimes, the other person also needs time to come to terms with what is happening.
Lastly, it would be best if you decided whether you are ready to forgive the other person or not. If you feel prepared, then choose a place and manner that is comfortable for you. If you are not ready, give yourself time to heal. Indeed, by reflecting on the way forward, it is a chance to be rational amidst flaring emotions. You want to put the final seal to the issue and move on.
Forgiveness Starts With You
Yes. Understand that, we all make mistakes. Hence, think of how you would want the other person to handle the situation if you were the one in the wrong. By shifting the perspective to the other person, we avoid the tendency to internalize the hurt. For, you could easily blame yourself for the mistake. Instead, know that the error is a reflection of the character of the other person, not you.
Hence, learn to forgive yourself so that you can overlook the other person’s mistakes. Do not fall in the trap of questioning yourself on how you became vulnerable. Friendship makes us trust the other person. Thus, let this be a learning experience on what boundaries you need in your relationships.
Draft Your Forgiveness Letters
Now, jotting down your forgiveness helps you move on in several ways. First, it helps you see precisely what the other person did to you. For, you will list all the things you feel the other person did to you to hurt you. In the process, you will weigh in on whether such issues are worth the heartache.
Picture this. Your friend may have deceived you and taken a loyal yet demanding client from your business. Has he done you a favor by letting you concentrate on the less demanding clients?
Hence, pick a pen and paper and write all your pain and negative emotions that the other person made you feel. Never be in a hurry. The healing process may take days, weeks, or even months. Be as truthful as possible. Then, towards the end of your letter, tell the other person you forgive them. Ensure you mention the words ‘I forgive you’.
Next, read the message out to the person who hurt you. If you feel the hurt is too much to handle, send out the letter, following up that the other person gets it. Still, if the other person is beyond your reach, keep the message with you for reference.
Focus on an Amicable Solution
As you draft your forgiveness letter, have the right perspective. Expect the other person’s reaction. They know they are in the wrong. Hence, they expect to be on the attack. Still, aim at solving the issue and moving forward. Never break a friend who comes to you in an already broken state. Choose to empathize with them. More so, let them know that you accept their apology, and understand their behavior given the circumstances.
But, if the difference seems irreconcilable at the moment, agree to disagree. Indeed, how you handle this hurt will show your level of maturity. It will also determine how the two of you will relate in the future.
Have You Really Forgiven the Other Person?
Finally, go through this checklist to confirm that you have forgiven the other person. That is, what comes to mind when you think about this person who hurt you? If your first thought about them is no longer the injury, then, you are on the road to recovery. If not, then you are still hurt and need to give yourself time to forgive.
Second, ask yourself, would you be willing to assist this person if he was in need? This question is the real test of forgiveness. It shows that you are moving on with your life.
Third, is there any positive thought you have about this person after the hurt? If so, it means you are now able to look beyond the pain and focus on what brought you together in the first place.
Then, you can ask yourself, given a chance, would you revenge? Forgiveness means letting go. Hence, thoughts of revenge should not linger in your mind.
Indeed, anyone in a healthy relationship can hurt the other person. What matters is how we apologize and accept each other’s apology. Hence, we hope this guide gives you an idea on how to deal with forgiveness. More so, in situations where you feel it is too hard to accept an apology.