Think About It Thursday: Do You Know How To Forgive?

Published on Thursday, August 4, 2011 in , , ,

Have you ever been cheated on, lied to, betrayed or all of the above?  Well you're not alone!  We've all been in situations where the ones who are supposed to love and protect us end up hurting us (sometimes by mistake and sometimes not).  Being hurt often leads us to retreat into our own world of hurt and pain.  If we're not careful we harbor those feelings and allow them to cause even more damage then was done before.  

We sometimes even convince ourselves that we have moved on and forgiven the perpetrator for what they have done when we know we really haven't.  What is most frustrating is it's not that we haven't tried or don't want to forgive, it's that we don't know how.

Many times we withhold our own blessings because we don't know how to forgive. We may claim that we forgive someone, but forgiveness is more than just saying the words. Forgiving requires action. It is something that you must do, but also feel. Knowing what forgiveness means is the first step to being able to forgive.

Forgiveness means to allow room for error or weakness (via Merriam-Webster).  This definition is a blatant reminder that we all make mistakes, but we must also allow others to make mistakes.  No one is perfect and once you know that is what the basis of forgiveness means then it can sometimes be easier to forgive another person.

Evening after know the definition we sometimes say, oh well I said I forgive you, but we continue to harbor feelings of hurt, hate, and resentment. Can we really say that saying the words, but still harboring the feelings truly counts as forgiveness? No! True forgiveness is able to recognize, accept, and let go.  Sometimes the things that people do to us can be beyond hurtful. The pain we feel can blind us to the fact that people must pay for their own actions even though it may seem that we are the ones paying for them.

If you can just take a second and remove yourself from the situation, you will truly see that forgiving someone is the only way to make sure that the other person's actions don't continue to hurt you.  Revenge may seem sweet, but it will poison you to the core. Forgiveness on the other hand frees you of pain and allows you to be happy and blessed beyond measure.

Do you know how to forgive?

Forgiveness is a process, but if you know how to do it the process can go much smoother!  If there is someone or some situation you need to forgive try the steps below in your journey to forgiveness...

1. Accept the situation

When we accept a situation it just means that we realize that it is out of our control, in the past, and there is nothing we can do to change the fact that it happened.  Accepting the situation does not me accepting bad treatment.  It simply means recognizing that no matter how hurtful the situation is, we cannot go into the past to change it.  We can only move forward.

2. Be with your feelings

After we accept that we cannot change a situation we may feel frustrated, stuck, and even more anger on top of the anger we already feel.  This can suck!  However, it is important to allow yourself to really sit with your feelings.  Identify exactly what it is your feeling and give yourself permission to be angry, sad, or betrayed.  It is your right to feel exactly how you are feeling.  

3. Let those feelings go

Once you have had the time to be with and really feel your feelings, make the conscious decision to let those negative feelings go.  This may require prayer, meditation, or both.  Whatever it takes do it!  Letting go of the negative feelings is a KEY step in forgiving.  This process may take a little time, but have faith that you will be able to conquer letting go of those negative feelings.

4. Verbally express your forgiveness.

Tell the person who has hurt you that you forgive them.  This can be a very therapeutic gesture and acts as a final farewell to all of the negative feelings you've had.

5. Let love in.

Once you've been hurt it can take time to heal.  Forgiveness allows you to speed up the healing process, but sometimes we tend to unconsciously build up walls to protect us from future hurt.  Don't do this to yourself!  Remember to show yourself some extra love and care by surrounding yourself with positive people who love and support you.  This will help to uplift your spirits.  Let those close to you love you as much as they can and receive that love willingly! 


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