3 Ways To Forgive

If you have been carrying pain caused by someone that you just can't get yourself to forgive, keep reading.

I have been reading about forgiveness in Jen Sincero’s book, “You Are a Badass”, which prompted me to think about my own hardship trying to forgive people who have deeply hurt me. 

I don’t think there is a single person in the world that can say they’ve never been hurt by someone at an emotional level. The impacts of the pain we feel vary and some are so painful that it alters the way we navigate the world and how we behave with others. 

For example, I’ve been hurt by being betrayed by some of the people I thought would never do that to me. So, for years, I didn’t allow myself to trust people. I would go as far as 80, maybe 90 percent, but no more. 

It was a way of protecting myself and to be honest, it was out of fear. I’d always heard that forgiving was for ourselves, not for the other person. 

The thing is that forgiving someone is often thought of as saying to the other person that it was ok that they hurt you. But that is absolutely NOT what it means to forgive. 

Forgiving someone does NOT mean you have to continue or try to start a relationship of any type with the offender. 

It also does not mean that they can or have permission to do it again. 

You see, when you forgive, you also set up boundaries. STRONG ONES!

In order to forgive you also DON’T have to tell the offender. However, YOU MUST feel sincere forgiveness in your heart. 

Don’t confuse that with vindictiveness or punishment. Some people will think that by not accepting the offender’s apology, they will punish the offender. If that is what you truly feel in your heart by not giving the person a response to their apology or plea for forgiveness, you will continue to feel that awful pain in your heart. 

Sincero speaks of several methods to get to the point of forgiveness. Honestly, I wish I would have read some of her tips when I was in the thick of my pain because I probably would have put myself out of my misery earlier. 

I talk about these tips in this week’s podcast here.

Sincero's tips are as follows:

  1. Find compassion for the person who hurt you. She suggests you imagine the offender as a child who has been hurt and acting out. 
  2. Erase the other person from the equation. A great example given in the book is that if you were in a boat and another boat bumps into you, you'd react differently if the person on the boat that hit you were inside the boat at the time or not. If you realize no one is in the boat that hit you, then you'd have no one to be mad at. So, erasing the person from the situation can help you get to a place of forgiveness. 
  3. Decide you'd rather be happy than right. Sometimes just letting it go is better than getting validation for the way you feel. I know that this is hard, but remember that everything we do is a choice. We even decide who to love (regardless of the flaws we see in them).

Sincero offers more than three tips. But I wanted to share these three because I feel that they are achievable and realistic.

Listen, while I’m talking about forgiving someone assuming that you, an adult, have gone through some pain, let’s not forget that we can help our children with these tips and tools so that they learn to forgive bullies who have hurt them. 

To forgive is to unlock shackles from the soul. 

We underestimate how much NOT forgiving affects us. So, dig deep. It’s not easy work, but if you want to grow and be free of the pain, you will find a way to be free from this weight. 

Being able to teach forgiveness is a gift to those around you, especially your children. Remember that you are role-modeling social-emotional learning skills, conflict resolution skills, love, empathy, and much more. 

Tune in to this week’s episode to learn about the tools you can use to get to the point of forgiveness. 


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