LEARNING TO FORGIVE WHEN IT’S TOO HARD
Have you been in a situation where it feels impossible to forgive someone in your life, no matter how hard you try? Does that describe you right now?
Forgiveness is a virtuous trait, one that most religions tout as the path to freedom. But what if you’re just not quite ready to let go?
If you can relate, this post is for you—some thoughts on what to do when you aren’t ready to forgive but want to continue moving forward.
Forgiveness comes in time.
Holding onto trauma that has happened to us or thoughts or memories that we carry serve as subconscious ways of protecting ourselves from encountering the pain again. The process can be long, and complicated, and may only be healed with time.
The journey towards forgiveness is very similar. It takes a special kind of patience and acceptance that can’t be rushed if true healing is to happen. That means not forcing it—and not being hard on yourself.
Judging yourself only serves to bring in more fear and negativity, which is not helpful on the path to forgiveness. It’s easy to focus on the “shoulds”: I should already be over this” or “I shouldn’t be having this much trouble forgiving,” etc. But think about: where does this type of thinking really get you?
Answer: nowhere helpful. What it really does is continue to build up more negativity or hatred against the person you’re working to forgive. And around and around the cycle goes. Which brings me to the next point…
Show yourself peace and kindness, always.
It’s okay to forgive yourself for having trouble forgiving. It’s alright to take a step back in the process before taking more action. There’s nothing wrong with taking time before getting to where you need to be, before you’re ready.
While you’re learning to show compassion towards that person, first show compassion towards yourself. Recognize your pain and take a deep breath. As you breathe out, imagine the pain you’re still feeling is released from your mind, body, and soul. As you breathe back in, think of peace and contentment entering with it, filling you up.
Tell yourself it’s okay. Because the last person you want to judge or put down is yourself—and so many of us tend to do this.
Redirect your energy.
Send it towards work on positive goals that will enrich your life, rather than worry or pain about the experience that has hurt you. Work on healthy ways of getting what you need in life.
Focusing on your wounds only gives the person and experience that hurt you more power. Instead, make your goal a life well lived full of beauty, love, and—you guessed it—kindness. That alone can empower you on your path to forgiveness.
When you do get to that place of forgiveness, you’ll be able to look back on your heroic choice. Until then, continue to start from a place of self-love and understanding. And take each step as it comes to you.
And if you need more help, I would love to assist you on your journey.