Why Should You Forgive?
If you are reading this article, then you are either curious or seeking to improve your emotional and mental health. Or you are thinking of how you can improve your life and create holistic health and healing in your life.
Then, you’ve come to the right place. The truth is that we all have things that we need to let go of. We all have things that we are afraid to face, and we are all just trying to figure out how to do our best and be happy. We are all seeking belonging in some form or another.
While working towards belonging, there are many steps that we each must complete. One of these steps, is seeking healing.
To achieve holistic healing, we must develop the courage to open those closed doors, roll up our selves, and get ready to get deep into the muck of those thoughts and feelings that we have been avoiding. Let’s take a look at 5 things that you should know about forgiveness.
5 Things You Should Know About Forgiveness
So, here are 5 things about forgiveness that you should know:
- Forgiveness is a process. It is not a one-and-done experience. It is a process of developing awareness of your feelings, exploring them so that you can gain clarity about what the issue was, what things about the issue personally affected you, what your role was in the situation, and the role of the other person, what lessons you can learn from the whole experience, and the process of letting go of the feelings as you begin to understand that all parties involved in the situation experienced something different.
If you find later that the feelings are coming back, allow yourself grace, and go through the process again as you may find that you can experience triggers, you may have forgiven too quickly (before you were ready), or you may have not been completely honest with yourself the first time.
- Forgiveness is not linear. Everyone’s experience is different, though this maybe a cliché, it is the truth. We all experience things differently; this is based on how we learn, how we process information, and the teachings we learned as children. Do not fault yourself or shame yourself into doing something that you see someone else doing. Forgiveness looks different for everyone as it has many subjective (as just described) and objective (facts of the issue you are trying to forgive) factors that affects the process.
- In the forgiveness process, the stages may overlap, shorten, or extend, it is all okay as long as you work through the process in a healthy way. The stages may look different for people, but the stages of forgiveness include:
- identifying the issue
- recognizing that you need to forgive this transgression/wrongdoing so that you can heal and move on, not to forget
- allow yourself to experience all the emotions that you are having, and do not engage in guilt or shame for having those feelings
- establish the lessons that this experience has taught you, clarify your role in the issue, and develop appropriate boundaries to move forward with the offender
- understand that the process is not about forgetting what happened, this process is to help you move forward in your life,
- Forgiveness is about the person forgiving, not about the offender. Remember that the process of forgiveness is to help you to heal, learn from the experience, and apply the lessons which fosters growth and maturity. This is a form of self-care and self-love. You are essentially putting yourself first by recognizing that you have been wounded and you want to heal yourself so that you do not carry these wounds into future relationships. This is not a selfish act.
- Forgiveness is not about forgetting. You will never forget the way that someone or something made you feel. Forgiveness is not about forgetting. Forgiveness is about letting go and moving forward. It is about giving yourself the best chances of having successful and healthy relationships in your future. Remember that positive energy is attracted to positive energy, and the same with negative energy. So, if you want to attract more love and positivity in your life, forgiveness is a necessary and regular process and habit in your life. You will practice forgiveness with yourself and forgiveness of others often.
Being Intentional With Forgiveness
While working through the forgiveness process, we are not consciously thinking about each stage. The process is organic once we commit to doing the work.
We must be intentional about curating the life that we want. It takes work to be happy because life is happening every day. Coasting through life is not the way to experience all the fullness that life has to offer.
If there is someone in your life that you need to forgive – this may even be yourself – download the forgiveness worksheet and set about letting go of the pain and hurt you’ve been holding onto, you do not need to suffer unnecessarily. You deserve better.