More than likely, at some point in your life you’ve been hurt by the words or actions of another person. Unfortunately, those hurts often stay with you, leaving you feeling bitter, angry or in need of vengeance. If you’re holding on to anger instead of forgiving someone, it’s probably hurting you the most. Embracing forgiveness offers many benefits, but it can be difficult to figure out how to forgive someone. If you’re having a difficult time figuring out how to forgive, it’s time to learn more about forgiveness and the steps you need to take to truly forgive someone who’s wronged you.
What is Forgiveness?
First, it’s important to fully understand forgiveness. If you don’t understand forgiveness, it’s difficult to forgive someone. Forgiveness involves letting go of feelings of resentment and changing your thinking towards an individual who’s wronged you. When you forgive someone, you no longer entertain thoughts of revenge. Forgiveness involves letting go of the ill-will towards an individual who did you wrong.
Some people think that you have to forgive and forget, but that’s not true. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you forget the wrong, it only means that you no longer hold feelings of vengeance against that individual. It’s difficult to forget the painful things someone has done to you, but forgiveness doesn’t hinge on you forgetting that event. It’s also important to remember that forgiveness doesn’t have to mean reconciliation with the individual who wronged you. You can forgive that individual without going back into a relationship that may be unhealthy or harmful.
The Benefits of Forgiveness
When you’re trying to figure out how to forgive someone, take some time to think about the benefits of forgiveness. Forgiveness will benefit you even more than the individual you forgive. Just a few of the benefits of figuring out how to forgive someone who has hurt you include:
- Lowers your Blood Pressure – According to one study that was published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, forgiveness can actually lower your blood pressure. It also helps to reduce your heart rate and reduces stress, which benefits heart health.
- Results in Healthier Relationships – When you’re able to forgive, whether it’s someone else or yourself, letting go of the anger will result in healthier relationships.
- Reduced Likelihood of Depression – Letting go of anger and grudges with forgiveness reduces your likelihood of depression, and according to the Mayo Clinic, forgiveness can result in fewer depression symptoms as well.
Before you figure out how do I forgive someone, you need to learn how to forgive yourself for hurting someone else. In many cases, you’ll find it harder to forgive yourself than it is to forgive someone else. When you make mistakes, it often leaves painful scars behind, and it can be difficult to forgive yourself for the mistakes you have made. If you’re having a difficult time forgiving yourself, here are a few tips you can use to extend forgiveness to yourself.
- Tip #1 – Begin Accepting Your Flaws – First, you need to begin accepting your flaws. Realize that you’re not perfect, but that’s okay. Everyone has flaws. Everyone makes mistakes. You are continuing to grow as a person, so you need to accept your mistakes and then, forgive yourself.
- Tip #2 – Realize That You’re Still a Good Person – Even if you messed up, realize that you’re still a good person. Don’t let guilt or shame eat you up inside.
- Tip #3 – Take Time to Talk to Someone – If you’re still having a tough time forgiving yourself, take the time to talk to someone about it. Talk to a friend who can give you a better perspective or talk to a professional therapist if you feel that forgiving yourself is something you just can’t do on your own.
- Tip #4 – Try the Best Friend Test – Think about the mistake you made. Then, ask yourself what you would tell your best friend if they made that mistake. Would you tell them that they couldn’t be forgiven? You’d probably tell your friend that everyone makes a mistake from time to time. Take the advice that you would give your friend and forgive yourself.
Steps for Forgiving Someone Else
How do you forgive someone? If you’re having a tough time figuring out how to truly forgive someone, the following steps may prove helpful.
- Step #1 – Be Inspired By Others Who Have Forgiven – If you’re trying to forgive someone, be inspired by others who have forgiven individuals who hurt them. When you see others forgive, it’s easier for you to let go and forgive someone who has injured you.
- Step #2 – Learn to Be Empathetic – While you may never agree with the way the other person hurt you, it helps to learn to be empathetic towards that person. Think about what it’s like being in that person’s shoes. When you learn to be empathetic, you may understand why that person acted the way he did, even if it hurt you.
- Step #3 – Eliminate Negative Feelings – Eliminate the negative feelings that you feel towards the person who hurt you. Negative feelings will only hurt you, so release them so you can begin moving forward.
- Step #4 – Ask for Help if Needed – In some cases, it may be difficult to figure out how to forgive someone on your own, especially of the person hurt you repeatedly or the hurts were very traumatic. You may need some help to work through your feelings. A professional therapist can help you through the process of acknowledging your feelings and working through the process of forgiveness.
When You Need Forgiveness
If you’re the one who has hurt someone else, you may be wondering how to get someone to forgive you. There’s no way that you can make someone forgiveness, but you can go to the person you hurt and apologize. Let them know that you feel badly that you hurt them and ask them to forgive you. At this point, you’ve done everything you can to make things right – they must make the decision to forgive you. If they don’t, you can be at peace knowing that you’ve done everything possible to make things right.