“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” – Mahatma Gandhi
How to forgive someone who hurt you?
Forgiving isn’t easy, especially when the offense was extreme. And it gets even harder to forgive someone who keeps hurting.
What’s worse, is when they continue to hurt while defending their position and never apologizing. It is a Herculean task to forgive when the offender does not accept they did any wrong, as the narcissists do.
Moreover, even if you forgive them while still hurting, you may wonder if it was right to 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. You and your tranquility come first, not theirs.
10 Steps To Forgive Someone Who Keeps Hurting
Everybody hurts, at least one time. After the dark emotional waves pass, you may forgive them. But the memory of the hurt brings more hurt.
And if, after your forgiveness, they go back to their old hurtful selves, you ask yourself:
Why should I forgive this repeat offender? You do so because forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.
Here are 10 helpful steps to forgive when someone keeps hurting you:
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.
Forgiveness has transformative power. It frees us from the past while opening up new possibilities for the future.
“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”
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.
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”
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.
Step 3. Avoid Going To Sleep Angry
Refuse to drift off to sleep angry. Why?
Your subconscious mind creates your reality, depending on how you think and perceive it.
When you drift off to sleep, your unconscious mind controls everything that happens in your body.
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, do not blame or criticize others even if they refuse to accept their fault or act unapologetic.
Please realize that no one has the power to make you feel bad without your consent.
Be willing to experience your emotions freely without calling them wrong or trying to chase them away.
Master yourself and avoid blaming others.
Refusing to blame others is taking responsibility for how you choose to respondto any adverse situation.
“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” – Mark Twain
Change the way you perceive things and your potential will be unlimited. See your forgiveness as a reflection of your self-kindness.
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
Try letting go.
Some people will always have a contrary opinion, regardless of how well you do anything.
Soften your hard edges by tolerating contrary opinions.
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 to a few places that you always avoided. Practice the courage to be opposed and disliked, and still stand your ground.
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 that, you will find that they no longer offend you, and your relationship with yourself will improve.
“Forgiveness is one of the best forms of love that you can give yourself.”
Step 7. Aim To Be Kind Instead of Being Right
By pursuing revenge, you too suffer. Resentments destroy people.
You don’t have to retaliate when someone wrongs you.
Try to be part of the solution rather than of the problem.
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.
When you are optimistic that something good will happen to you after every setback, you can embrace the dark times more easily.
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 help you deal with the situation better.
Talking about your vulnerabilities doesn’t mean you are weak. It rather means that you are taking control of your well-being.
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.
You may realize that the 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.
Why Is Forgiveness Difficult?
Forgiveness has many benefits, and you can do it without relying on others. Then 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 to understand yourself on a deeper level. Self-awareness, or insight into one’s thoughts and emotions, is critical to 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.
Psychology of Forgiveness
Forgiveness is a complex process that can have significant psychological and physical benefits, including reduced stress, improved mental health, and increased well-being.
Research has identified several factors that can influence forgiveness, such as empathy, perspective-taking, and the ability to regulate emotions.
Most psychologists concur with Enright, Gassin, and Wu (1992) that forgiveness is distinct from pardon (which is more apposite to the legal realm), condonation (which implies justifying the transgression), and excusing (which implies recognition that the transgressor had a good reason for committing the transgression). It is also distinct from reconciliation, which is a term implying restoration of a relationship.
Psychologists suggest that the best way to forgive someone is to engage in a process of intentional and deliberate forgiveness. This involves:
1. Acknowledging the harm: Recognize and acknowledge the pain and harm caused by the other person’s actions.
2. Choosing to forgive: Make a conscious decision to forgive the other person, rather than holding onto anger or resentment.
3. Practicing empathy and understanding: Try to understand the other person’s perspective and motivations, and cultivate empathy and compassion.
4. Letting go of resentment: Work to release feelings of anger, bitterness, and revenge, and choose to let go of the negative emotions associated with the experience.
5. Setting healthy boundaries: While forgiveness is important, it is also essential to set healthy boundaries to protect oneself from future harm.
The Essence of Forgiveness
How to forgive someone who isn’t sorry?
Remind yourself of the essence of forgiveness: Forgiveness is primarily for you.
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 are integral parts of setting boundaries in relationships.
Forgiving doesn’t imply that you even inform them or pass on the message that you forgave them.
How to forgive someone who hurt you emotionally?
To forgive someone who hurt you emotionally, try to process your own feelings and identify the emotions driving your pain, such as anger, fear, or sadness. Then try to try to empathize with the other person by considering their perspective. It may help you to let go of resentment and anger. Forgive them in your own mind. You may or may not reveal to them that you forgave them. Finally, set boundaries so that you can protect yourself from further harm and let them know clearly how you want to be treated in the future.
How to forgive when you are still angry?
Forgiving someone when you are still feeling angry can take time because forgiveness is an evolving process. Here is what you may do:
1. Allow yourself to feel your emotions: It’s okay to feel angry, hurt, or upset. Experience these emotions without judging them or trying to push them away.
2. Identify the source of your anger: Try to pinpoint what exactly is making you angry. Is it the other person’s actions or words, or is it something else? Understanding the root of your anger can help you to better address it.
3. See their acts with empathy: Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and understand their perspective. This can help you to see things from their point of view and find common ground.
4. Let go of the need for revenge: Forgiving someone doesn’t mean you condone their behavior or that you have to forget what happened. It simply means that you’re letting go of burning coal that you’re holding in your hand waiting to throw it at them.
“Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom.” – Hannah Arendt
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 well-being.
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.
“Forgiveness is not about forgetting. It is about letting go of another person’s throat.” – William Paul Young
Finally, forgiving is a reasonably hard and gradual process. When it gets too difficult, don’t hesitate to ask for help.
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Author Bios: Leon Collier, a freelance writer, wrote a short, early version of it. Extensively rewritten, expanded, researched, and edited by Sandip Roy.
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