Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness. -Marianne Williamson
What is forgiveness? Forgiveness is an intentional, conscious decision to let go of any feelings of resentment, vengeance or ill-will toward a person or group who you perceive as having harmed or done you wrong. It is letting go of the need to get back at someone, wishing someone harm or holding on to grudges. It is no longer being affected emotionally or mentally by the event.
It is not that we don’t know how to forgive. More so, it is that we don’t want to forgive. We’d rather hold on to our hurt vs. grieving disappointment and hurt, accepting that we don’t always get what we want in life, and moving on.
The inability to forgive is most harmful to those who refuse to forgive. A painful event is turned into long-term agony and suffering. Sometimes the other person is unaware that there is a problem. Yet the person who refuses to forgive remains in a self-imposed mental prison.
What forgiveness is not. Forgiveness is not condoning, agreeing, accepting or forgetting what happened. It does not make a wrong right, nor does it mean the person has to agree with you, accept responsibility for their behavior, forgive you or even accept your forgiveness.
Remember forgiveness is for you. You have heard this over and over again. Let go simply because the burden is heavy. It is like holding onto heavy shopping bags. If you let go, the pain will stop.
How to let go. It may be helpful to change how you feel about the situation or person or attempt to place yourself in the other person’s shoes to gain some understanding. You may never understand. However, this should not stop you from letting go.
Consider we are all human and have made mistakes. Journaling your feelings about a situation may give you an outlet to help you forgive and move forward.
Get a neutral opinion from a wise person. You want someone who has wisdom. Rather than focusing on the negative emotions you have surrounding an event, reflect on what you have learned from the situation. How did you participate in the event? What could you have done differently?
We do have a choice as to how we perceive, process, and respond to life’s events. On the other side of hurt is growth. Most of all, forgiveness can give you peace.