How do we forgive?
“Why should we forgive them when they did those things to us?”
This may be one of the most common reasons to why we find it impossible to forgive others. It could be more common cases like a friend who betrayed us, a parent who mistreated us when we were young or an unfaithful spouse. Or it could be more extreme cases like a rapist or the murderer of our child. In these cases, it is almost impossible to forgive, and why should we?
To answer these questions, we have to first understand what forgiveness is and what it is not.
Forgiveness is not something you do for someone else. Even though we forgive someone else, we are forgiving others for ourselves ultimately. Forgiveness is about letting go and letting go leads to freedom, self-love and happiness. This is why we should forgive.
We often find it impossible to forgive because we have a misconception of forgiveness.
- Forgiveness is not condoning the mistakes
- Forgiveness is not letting others know they are forgiven
- Forgiveness is not forgetting about the mistakes
- Forgiveness is not keeping others in our lives even after what they have done
- Forgiveness is not giving up
- Forgiveness is not something you do for someone else
Forgiveness is about letting go and accepting inevitable imperfections in life and focusing on now instead of what could have and should have happened in the past. Ultimately, forgiveness is about letting go so that we can find freedom, love and happiness.
Now that we understand what forgiveness is and is not, we will learn how to forgive.
- Let yourself feel sad or angry. A healthy amount of sadness and anger leads to acceptance that something has happened.
- Reflect upon ourselves. Is there anything we could have done to prevent the same thing from hurting us again? If not, it’s fine. What have we learnt from that experience?
- Think of the other person. No one is perfect. Why did the other person do what he/she did? He/she acted that way because of their limited beliefs.
- Make a conscious decision not to let it affect us emotionally anymore. We will not lose sleep over it anymore because doing so does not help in any way. However, we will still do the required things to rectify the situation if necessary. For example, if someone cheated a sum of money from us, we can make a conscious decision to not let it affect us emotionally but still do the required tasks to get back our money.
Learning to forgive is like a muscle. We learn to forgive over time by practicing it again and again. Remind yourself daily that forgiveness is about letting go and acceptance that will ultimately lead to freedom love and happiness for ourselves.
Check out our Forgiveness reminder pieces here.