Women with a hand on forehead crying on the side of the bed.

Forgiveness: Steps to Forgive

Can we talk about forgiveness?

Did you know that there is a difference between a despicable act and an unforgivable one? Ask yourself, is it despicable? If it is not, the unforgivable act requires our willingness to see it as a forgivable act. Entanglement is characterized by a compromising situation, referring to relations and insecurities. Inviting more negativity rather than positivity regarding the relationship, lack of communication, and the likes. In a real sense, it isn’t easy to build a healthy relationship in such an atmosphere. However, this is where true forgiveness comes in. As we have seen in the recent headlines, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith’s world confession of relationship entanglements are often seen as unforgivable. However, their ability to hurdle through a process of forgiveness and come back to each other commendable.

So, what happens when such actions rightly define entanglement?

True forgiveness is “A sign that the person who has wronged you means more to you than the wrong they have done.” -Ben Greenhalgh. This may be true for many because life generally is about putting the past behind you in order to make progress. However, let’s take a deeper look into ourselves in order to heal from egregious actions. Although there’s always a part of the human mind that wants offenders to get punished for the wrong they do, forgiveness is an active process in which you make a conscious decision to let go of negative feelings, whether the person deserves it or not. Like I tell my clients this is for you and only you so, ask yourself:

1. Do you have feelings of anger and hurt? Are you judging yourself on the ability to forgive? 

Don’t be so hard on yourself. We are only human and we can forgive as best as we can. 

2. Do you feel like the offender must pay because they are all bad?

This requires you to reflect on the relationship and the person on a personal level. Are they a person hurting and unable to see past their on mishaps? Now ask yourself these questions. Out of 100% what percentage of the offender’s behaviors can be explained by a desire to hurt you personally? 

3. What percentage can be explained as a reflection of their own pain or frailties?

What are they going through and they really strategic in hurting you?

4.  Should I remain bitter so it will never happen to me again?

Staying bitter hinders your growth and ability to grow and learn from your encounters. 

5. Do I stay mad because it will get out of my system? 

Again, this means that this stays will with as you encounter others.

6. I don’t want to betray myself or others if I drop the grudge.

The feeling of self loyalty is a concurrent state stopping you from forgiving yourself. All yourself to be human and experience love and trust without fear. 

Findings have also shown that chronic anger or resentment keeps you in a fight-or-flight mode, which ends in numerous changes in heart rate, blood pressure, and immune responses. Those changes increase the risk of depression, heart disease, and diabetes, among other conditions. However, forgiveness calms stress and it is important that we forgive in order to regain our sound mind, joy, and peace.

Not knowing how to forgive is one of the many reasons why people find it difficult to forgive.

Ruminating over the offense and the offender increases wrath and freshens the wound all over again, trying to figure out who’s right or wrong deepens the hurt and eventually drives the offended to the point of unforgiveness. In the real sense, there is no sin too big to be forgiven; it all requires your willingness to see it as a forgivable act. Sometimes, this may require you to reflect on the relationship and the person on a personal level.  Carefully analyzing all the above questions will enable you to get out of all anger, guilt, pain, and hurt that the offense birthed.

As a starting point, letting go commences the healing process and sets your mind right on making other decisions such as reconciliation, taking the offender back, and lots more. You have to let go of the bitterness. Many times, we organize a consolation in our minds that the wrath we express towards our offenders keeps them in a hook or something. This is not necessarily true as we take a greater share of the burden and stagnation over time. Your only duty is to put the past in its place and move ahead with hope for a better future.

Beyond giving people another chance, you need to be kind to yourself. Your emotional and psychological stability is tied to your ability to forgive. If not for the sake of the offender, forgive for your own sake! Let go of the pain and anger; let peace and joy fill your heart again.

 

 

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