Forgiving someone isn’t easy, especially when their offense was extreme. And it gets even harder to forgive someone who keeps hurting.
When people continue to hurt you while defending their position and never apologizing, forgiving can be a Herculean task. It is nearly impossible to forgive when the offender does not believe they have done anything wrong with you, as narcissists do.
Moreover, even if you forgive them while still hurting from their abuses, you may wonder if you can truly forgive them. For such people, something inside you says, “My forgiveness won’t stop them from hurting me again.”
However, true forgiveness doesn’t need any of those preconditions. Because forgiveness is an act you do for your peace of mind. That is the real essence of forgiveness — your tranquility, not theirs.
10 Steps To Forgive Someone Who Keeps Hurting
A parent might have let you down as a child. A partner or a spouse might have turned unfaithful. A friend might have randomly shared one of your deepest secrets. After the dark emotional waves have passed, you may decide to forgive them.
However, if someone wrongs you once again, you face a new challenge: Can you ever forgive the repeat offender?
Here are 10 helpful steps to forgive someone who keeps hurting:
Step 1. Move Away From The Past
Focusing too much on the past can hurt a lot. You need to accept that all of your hurts are in the past, not in the present moment. Therefore, don’t let them dictate your thoughts and emotions.
Remember, your life is like a play. Some characters have minor roles, while others have larger ones. Some people are fantastic right away, while others need time to adjust. Some return after a few scenes, while others disappear forever after playing their part.
All of them are important. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be in the play in the first place. Accepting everyone for the roles they play in your life will allow you to forgive some, leave a few, and carry on with the rest.
However, no one who has hurt you has the authority to decide whether they can stay on in your life; only you get to do that.
Step 2. Reconnect With Yourself
Making a new agreement with yourself is one of the best ways to connect to your inner self. By doing this, you’ll allow any degree of perfect harmony designed for your body to proliferate. Allow the power within to flow through you. By connecting and blending with yourself, you’ll start radiating higher energy of light and love.
When you truly forgive, the disorder and disharmony in your life quickly go away. Wherever you go, it attracts others to your glow!
You don’t have to repair your relationship with everyone you’ve forgiven. Just because you regained your peace doesn’t mean they are no longer toxic. Instead, rebuild your relationship with yourself—with self-love and self-compassion.
Step 3. Avoid Going To Sleep Angry
Refuse to drift off to sleep angry. Why? When you drift off to sleep, your subconscious controls everything that happens in your body. Research studies have shown that the subconscious mind creates your reality, depending on how you think and perceive.
As Paul said:
Let not the sun go down on your wrath.
When you sleep peacefully, you align your body and mind with the source of creation. One of the easiest ways to sleep peacefully is by listening to affirmations and visualizing what you want. This is a common ritual for most successful people.
Step 4. Stop Blaming Others
When someone upsets you, it’s not easy to take your mind off the situation. However, shifting your mental energy will make it easier for you to manage your thoughts and emotions.
Do not blame or criticize others even if they refuse to apologize. When you allow the experience to unfold, you’ll realize that no one has the power to make you feel or do anything without your consent.
Be willing to experience your emotions freely without calling them wrong or trying to chase them away. By doing this, you’ll easily master yourself and avoid blaming others.
Refusing to blame others is taking responsibility for how you choose to respond. Change the way you perceive others and your potential will be unlimited.
Step 5. Avoid Trying To Control People
Avoid activities or thoughts that revolve around telling or making decisions for capable people. You don’t own anyone, including your children. Your children come through you; not from you.
Pay close attention to yourself when you start judging people and see how quickly your thoughts and emotions change.
As much as you try, you’ll never control anyone. Even your dog doesn’t like to be controlled. To live a frustration-free life, lose your ego to control other people.
Instead, control what you can — your thoughts, your opinions, your actions. Learn how the Stoics do it to perfection.
Step 6. Learn The Art of Letting Go
Instead of trying to dominate people and situations with force, just let go. If you already do not, then you need to soften your hard edges by tolerating contrary opinions.
Realize that people will always have a contrary opinion, regardless of how well you do anything. Your ability to change your stand when you come across fresh information is a crucial trait for success in business and life.
Allow your vulnerable self to go places where you previously excluded yourself from because your way of seeing things was dense, like concrete.
You can’t make people change their attitudes. Instead, change your response to them.
Drift away from those who do not share your ideas, values, and dreams, at least mentally, if not physically. When you do this, your relationships will improve, and you will find that they no longer offend you, and you can forgive them more easily.
Step 7. Aim To Be Kind Instead of Being Right
By pursuing revenge, you too suffer. Resentments destroy people. As hard as it sounds, always aim to be part of the solution instead of the problem. You don’t have to go all out to retaliate when someone wrongs you.
The reason you always aim to be right is that you personalize things that happen to you or things that others do that involve you. The best solution to this problem is learning how to depersonalize them. Tell yourself, “They are not attacking my character or nature, but merely pointing to my mistakes.”
While it’s natural to be filled with anger when someone wrongs you, it’s important to control your thoughts and emotions in those times.
When you see yourself getting irritated, angry, or frustrated, say to yourself, “I am responsible for this, so I will work to fix it.”
This one change in you will help you forgive more.
Step 8. Embrace The Dark Times
Negative emotions are both natural and rational. Despite the fact that they carry with them some really dark moments in our lives, it’s no good fighting or avoiding them. Instead, we should learn from science how to embrace our negative emotions.
To get to the point of our hopes and aspirations, each one of us must go through difficult times. Knowing this, you can become better at embracing them rather than rejecting them.
Every step that you take forward will have to be preceded by some kind of disaster. When you know that something good will happen to you after every setback or challenge, you will embrace the dark times.
As Napoleon Hill said, there is a difference between temporary defeat and failure. When you change your perspective, your whole life will change.
Step 9. Talk About Your Feelings
Talking about your feelings will not only help you deal with the troubling situation but also promote your mental health. Talking about your feelings doesn’t mean that you are weak. It’s all about taking control of your wellbeing.
Talking is one of the best ways to cope with a problem that you’ve been carrying around in your head and heart. As the popular saying goes, a problem shared is a problem half-solved.
When you open up, you encourage others to open up as well. At the end of the day, you realize the same problems that you have, affect other people too.
If you are not used to opening up, take baby steps. The more comfortable you are, the easier this process will be for you.
Step 10. Ask For Help
To achieve things in life, you need help from others around you. You are neither superhuman nor bulletproof.
When things get out of hand and you feel like you cannot handle it anymore, seek help. You’ll be surprised at how many people are willing to listen to you and help you.
You can also consider joining a support group or finding a counselor.Forgiving is for yourself, first and last. By forgiving, you empty a toxic part of your mind where you had lodged them. Once that abusive person is out, it liberates you. Click To Tweet
Why Is Forgiveness Difficult
So, since forgiveness has many benefits, and you can do it without relying on others, why is it so difficult? There are two important reasons:
- First, it’s natural to be filled with thoughts of revenge because you want to feel superior to the person who wronged you.
- Second, you identify yourself as the victim and you’re afraid of reconnecting or losing your connection with the person who wronged you.
One of the best strategies to resolve these challenges is understanding yourself on a deeper level. Self-awareness, or insight into one’s thoughts and emotions, is critical to the act of forgiving.
Forgiveness requires both willingness and willpower. Before granting your forgiveness, however, ask yourself whether you really want to forgive the other person.
Sometimes, you just don’t want to forgive because you are still hurting, or the person hasn’t expressed any regret. Do not try to forgive another person if you haven’t already identified, expressed, and released your pain or anger.
Essence of Forgiveness
Forgiveness means you have pushed them out of the rent-free apartment they had reserved in your head.
Forgiveness means you have decided to let go of your hostility towards them. When you forgive, you choose to let go of your grudge against that person, so that the thoughts of their actions, attitude, or behavior do not hurt you anymore.
Of course, physically moving away from the person who repeatedly hurts you puts you in a safer space. By forgiving them, you empty out the mental space they kept occupied.
This distances you from their thoughts and transforms your mental environment into one that is stress-free and serene.
Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.— commonly attributed to Buddha
Remember, setting boundaries or defining what behaviors of other people you allow toward yourself does not mean remaining spiteful against the offender. Forgiving and moving on is an integral part of setting boundaries in relationships.
Forgiving doesn’t imply that you even inform them or pass on the message that you forgave them.
Forgiving a habitual abuser is not at all easy. However, when you forgive them, you let go of your judgments and grievances and allow the self-healing process to start.
Abuse can take any form—physical, mental, sexual, or emotional. Whatever the form, forgiving the chronic abuser is always stressful and daunting.
But at the end of the day, remember, forgiving is an act you do for yourself. You don’t do it for the sake of other people, but for your healing and your wellbeing.
So, how do you know when you’ve truly forgiven someone?
It’s when you see or hear them, or even the mention of their name, but you don’t get any negative feelings rising in you. By forgiving, you have released them from your mind, and have truly become indifferent to their presence.
Finally, forgiving is a fairly tough and gradual process. When it gets too difficult, don’t hesitate to ask for help.
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• Forgiving yourself is even harder than forgiving others. Find out how you can forgive yourself.
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Author Bio: Leon Collier is a freelance writer at AssignmentHelp UK from Edinburgh who loves to write about pop culture, travel, self-development, science, and marketing. He enjoys reading and playing tabletop games on Saturdays with his friends. Follow him on Twitter.
Edited and reviewed by Sandip Roy—a medical doctor, psychology writer, and happiness researcher. Founder and Chief Editor of The Happiness Blog. Writes popular science articles on happiness, positive psychology, and related topics.
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