In this article we are going to focus on how to forgive. With a focus on actionable tools you can use today to start the journey.

I know this journey is not instant or even easy. But I do know that it is worth it. The peace that comes to you from forgiveness is more than worth the work it requires.

So without delay let's get right into understanding what forgiveness is, and how to achieve it!

how to forgive

What is Forgiveness?

Forgiveness is when we release someone from the hurt and pain they have caused us.

You had something happen to you. In that moment you experienced emotions and trauma. Forgiveness is releasing those emotions plus the emotions that you hold towards the person who caused the pain.

What Forgiveness is Not

  • Because you forgive someone does not mean that you approve or accept what they did as being right or okay. It means you release them from doing something that hurt you. You do not give it a stamp of approval by forgiving someone.
  • You do not have to tell a person that you have forgiven them. Heck, many times the other person does not even know how much they have hurt you. Instead remember that forgiveness is about you. You can forgive them, and they don’t have to know. Absolutely no reason to reach out to your ex, if you don't want to! 🙂
  • You do not have to keep them in your life. If you forgive them, you don’t have to let them be a part of your life.  Because you forgive them does not mean you go back into the situation. That means you are not learning what you need to! Learn, forgive and move on.

Benefits of Forgiveness

Short version - when you don’t forgive, you end up walking around angry and bitter. You want revenge. You want to expose to the world whoever hurt you for who they are.

Yet, from personal experience I can guarantee you that is not healthy. It delays your healing. It brings you down to the level of the person who hurt you. 

Yet, there are many more benefits to forgiveness than you not being angry. Here are a few that I have experienced:

how to forgive quote
  • Inner peace. I don’t need to be right in other people’s eyes.  As long as I am comfortable with my side then I don’t care who believes what. I no longer have to prove my side of the experience. Amazing how much more peaceful you are when you are not defending yourself.  When you are not concerned with what others think.
  • Better understanding. This is on many fronts. Understanding of what happened. Understanding of your role and the other persons role in what happened. An even a better understanding of you and the other person as humans – how you both think and function. This understanding is critical. Especially if you have to continue to interact with the other person, as you may have to in cases like divorce.
  • Change your future. When you understand the situation better, specifically your role in it. You can adjust what you do in future situations that are similar. When you learn the lesson and forgive, the next time you will make different decisions. And with those that you must continue to interact with you can change how you approach the person who hurt you. Thus, stopping them from hurting you again.
  • Increase empathy. While you might not condone the situation, the process of forgiveness allows you to have more sympathy and understanding for other people.
  • Decreased victim thinking. When you forgive someone, you give up the role of being the victim. This allows you to take power of your life and feelings. Life does not happen to you, you lead and learn lessons along the way.
  • Increased spirituality. Part of forgiveness is learning that everyone gets what they need. That God/Universe is coordinating our lessons. You must trust that you and the other person will be lead to what is right for each of you. You are not responsible for them, and they are not responsible for you. You work with God to coordinate your lessons, and they work with God to coordinate theirs. You have to learn to trust this crazy process called life.

How to Forgive

Everyone’s path to forgiveness will be different. So experiment with these in different combinations. And if you find none of these are working for you, then start to explore other options. These are simply a starting point. Trust your journey.

And remember that forgiveness might take time. This is not something to rush. Don't pressure yourself to do it "right" or quickly. You will heal in the right amount of time for you. Trust it.

Journaling

Journaling is a great tool to help you understand the entire situation.

Take the time to journal about your these things:

  • Your feelings.
  • What happened.
  • Why it may have happened.
  • What your role was in the event.
  • What you learned from the experience.
  • Understand the other person.

It is hands down my go to tool to help heal anything emotionally. I have gained powerful insights about myself and others during my journal sessions.

For more on how to journal I have an entire article on that for you here: How to Journal

Radical Forgiveness

This is a book by Collin Tipping. It is hands down the most beneficial thing for me when working on forgiveness.

It is based on the idea that we all come here to learn different lessons. While here events are coordinated by a higher source that allow you to learn. Forgiveness is then based on the idea that the person who hurt you was actually helping you.

I know this is a very different idea, and one that can be hard to get your mind around. But I encourage you to read the book, or at the very least try some of his worksheets.  

His step by step worksheets have been what has gotten me through many of the areas I was stuck on forgiving. Even when I was convinced nothing could get me passed the my emotional block.

Radical Forgiveness by Collin Tipping (Amazon Link)

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT or Tapping)

This is a system that uses your meridian points to help you change beliefs, forgive and a host of other things.

After you journal use tapping to help move your through the emotions of a situation or why it may have occurred.

For example, if you learned that you sabotaged a relationship because you did not believe you were worthy of love.  Then you can tap on your being worthy to find healing.

When I first started healing myself there were tons of things I needed to process and change. I kept an ongoing list from my journaling that needed to be tapped on.

This way nothing got forgotten, but I did not have to do hours of tapping at one time!

Don’t Take it Personally

This is one of the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. It is also the most critical part in forgiveness.

Short version, when something is done to you, it has nothing to do with you. It is the other person. When you hold on to that as an attack against you then you are taking it personally.

As a simple example if someone says your hair is ugly, it is their opinion and has nothing to do with you.  

A more complicated example may be that a loved one verbally attacks you. They tell you that you are ungrateful. Again, this is their opinion, and you should not take it personally.

When you look at forgiveness from the perspective of not taking it personally then you can release someone. What they did had nothing to do with you. It was all their issue.

I know this is another hard concept to process. Yet once you get how exactly true it is in all situations it will permanently change how you look at everything. 

This one is so important that it is the background on my phone!

If you need more help working through this book, checkout my book study on YouTube on it.

Prayer

When I felt like everything I ever did was not working, I turned it over to the Universe and my angels. Sometimes you need to accept that no matter how hard you work on forgiveness, you will need help.

You need to release control and let others step in to help you. Ask for help, in whatever form that comes easiest for you.

Give it Time

Not at all what you want to hear, but sometimes it just takes time. The more damaging the hurt the longer it will take.  You can reduce the time by using the tools above, but you also need to give yourself space to feel the pain.

Expecting to instantly forgive someone is not practical.

How to Forgive Someone Who Keeps Hurting You:

First off if you can get away from this person, then you need to do that. Do not keep subjecting yourself to people that continually hurt you. This may require that you get counseling to understand why you keep putting yourself in that situation.

Second, my answer to this question does not include if you are being physically abused. If that is the case, you must find a way to get out of this situation. I know this is hard, you have bee brainwashed to think it is your fault. It is not – get help and get out.

Finally, the rest of my answer is for those who can’t get away. Typically, this would be in cases like divorce where you are co-parenting. It may also happen in a work environment. Although in a work environment I would encourage you to seek a new employment place or involve HR.

  • Don’t take it personally. Remember this is not about you. It is about them.  I know this can be hard, especially if the issue is emotional abuse. After all you can only handle so much of being verbally attacked. Especially since our society does not think is a big issue, it is hard to get support. But the moment you start to realize it has nothing to do with you then you can begin to find peace. In fact, you can begin to have sympathy for the person. If they are this mean and hurtful to you, can you imagine what is going on in their mind?
  • Set up specific times to communicate. You do not need to subject yourself to them at all times. Read emails or listen to voice mails at a specific time. They can wait.
  • Have a dedicated space to do your communication from. This one has been a lifesaver for me. When dealing with my ex, I have one specific place to communicate. This way the negative energy does not follow me into work or personal life.  It also allows me to put on a different mindset before stepping into that space. Plus, release it afterwards.
  • Have a support team. You do not have to do this alone.  I routinely call my friends for extra support on the days I am struggling with forgiveness.

Remember forgiveness is not always easy, but it is always worth the effort.  It also does not happen overnight. It takes time, there are layers to undo. There are some things that have taken me over two years to forgive, and some even more.

Don’t give up if you don’t instantly forgive. Keep working on it and you will find peace.  Everything is forgivable, with time and effort.

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