How do you forgive someone who hurt you?
When someone leaves you, it can be devastating! The last thing on your mind is the whole idea of being able to forgive them!
You feel powerless and the lack of control over your life is hard to deal with.
If your partner has cheated on you it can be even worse as the person you trusted the most has betrayed and abandoned you.
I know it might seem like the last thing on your mind. However, if you want to move on from the hurt and pain of a broken relationship, forgiveness is essential. Otherwise, you will continue to bring the pain of your past into your future.
Let’s start by looking at the meaning of the word forgiveness:
Wikipedia says: Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, let’s go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well. Forgiveness is different from condoning (failing to see the action as wrong and in need of forgiveness), excusing (not holding the offender as responsible for the action), forgetting (removing awareness of the offense from consciousness), pardoning (granted for an acknowledged offense by a representative of society, such as a judge), and reconciliation (restoration of a relationship).
In How to Forgive Yourself after a Failed Relationship I talked about being able to forgive yourself when a relationship hasn’t worked out. In this blog, it is time to talk about forgiving someone who hurt you and ripped your world apart.
Forgiveness is not about letting the other person off the hook.
Forgiveness is something that you give yourself.
Forgiveness is a process, not a one-off action.
It is not an automatic one; in fact, it can feel difficult and hard. The thing is, resentment, dwelling on the past, bitterness – all of those emotions come easily and are ‘a piece of cake’. When you are hurt, these are easy patterns to fall into. Forgiveness, on the other hand, is an active choice.
Think of forgiveness as a disconnection. When you forgive you will disconnect your heart from the past relationship. In Aramaic, the word for forgiveness (“shbag”) literally means to “untie.” It’s a no-strings-attached kind of action that brings freedom.
Maybe you have heard the saying that not being able to forgive is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. You will always be the person who is most affected by not being able to forgive someone else.
Not being able to forgive will end up affecting your ability to have future healthy relationships and can ultimately affect your health.
Not forgiving and the energy that comes with that, is a block to attracting the love you want in your life.
When you are unable to forgive, it affects the energy you give out and how you show up in the world. If you’re holding resentments, need to forgive and let go of someone, you may notice tightness in the upper back, between the shoulders, a sunken chest, difficulty taking a deep breath and deflated or low energy.
Forgiveness is a big subject that could fill a whole book but I am just going to leave you with a practical process.
7 Tips to Forgive
1. You need to WANT to forgive and know the value of it.
You can’t forgive unless you want to or set the intention to forgive. When you are unable to forgive someone, it is usually because you want to hurt the person who hurt you. Therefore, it’s important to know that when you refuse to forgive someone who hurt you, the person you are really hurting is yourself. You need to be able to see it is the key to your own healing and creating healthy relationships in your life. Understand why you need to let it go.
2. Allow yourself to feel the emotions.
When you are hurt by someone, let yourself feel the emotions. Too often we suppress what we feel and it keeps us stuck. Allow yourself to feel the emotions without reacting to them. Forgiveness is a process that starts with being able to feel the emotions. Observe what you are feeling, feel the sensations and where they are in your body.
3. Accept that it happened.
You need to accept how you felt about it and how it made you react. In order to forgive, you need to acknowledge the reality of what occurred and how you were affected.
4. 30 Day Challenge to Forgive.
For the next 30 Days send forgiveness to the person who hurt you for two minutes a day. Say out loud that you forgive the person and yourself for letting it happen. Words have power and when you do this exercise you are letting the ‘universe’ know you are ready to move forward.
Over the 30 days’ pay attention to how you feel. Get a journal (for your eyes only) and write down your thoughts and feeling. Write without worrying that anyone will see it. It is a tool to let go. This will help heal you as there is something in writing things down that allows you to let them go. During the month be kind to yourself, let go of judging yourself or being hard on yourself for whatever comes up. Just flow with things and allow yourself to feel. You will find you feel lighter each day.
5. Acknowledge the growth you experienced as a result of what happened.
What did it make you learn about yourself, or about your needs and boundaries? Not only did you survive, perhaps you grew from it.
6. Now think about the other person.
He or she is flawed because all human beings are flawed. They acted from limiting beliefs and a skewed frame of reference because sometimes we all act from our limiting beliefs and skewed frames of reference. When you were hurt, the other person was trying to have a need met. What do you think this need was and why did the person go about it in such a hurtful way?
7. Finally, decide whether or not you want to tell the other person that you have forgiven him or her.
If you decide not to express forgiveness directly, then do it on your own. Say the words, “I forgive you,” aloud and then add as much explanation as you feel is merited.
If you don’t say it to the person you can write a letter (for your eyes only), read it out like and then burn the letter.
This is a popular practice in coaching/self-help/new age/counseling! It is so popular because it works! There is great satisfaction in seeing the words disappear in flames and the paper turn to ash. Whatever you wrote has DISAPPEARED. Take one step further and flush the ashes down the toilet.
Since everything and everyone in the Universe is energetically connected, every time you do an exercise like this, you are not only healing yourself but having an effect on others as well.
Because you have acknowledged and let go of your negativity toward another, this will also assist them and your relationship with them, even if you no longer come into contact with them. If you do, take note of any difference in their reaction toward you or the ‘vibe’ that exists between you.
Being able to forgive someone can feel hard to do and I want to let you know that you don’t have to do it alone. Get the support of a coach (it is an area I regularly work with people) or another trained professional.