“Forgiving is not forgetting. It’s letting go of the hurt.”
Sometimes it can feel almost impossible to forgive someone who has hurt you. We all make mistakes, we all mess up from time to time, it is one of the inevitable traits of being a human being.
Mistakes are often easy to make, yet we find it hard to forgive.
Forgiveness is not easy, yet it is possible and necessary. It gives you the opportunity and the freedom to move forward from a painful past. When we block our feelings or suppress them, they do not go away forever. They will overflow, and weigh us down in the past. The human brain is not designed to forget the past. By trying to do so, it will only impact on our present.
“Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong”- Gandhi
When we are unwilling or unable to forgive others, we may dwell on the painful event. By dwelling we remain in the past. Our past takes over our present. It affects us daily, in how we think, feel and behave. Sometimes, people can spend their whole lives dwelling in the past. It can influence our relationships with others, as we transfer our pain or anger onto them. Which can further make us feel ‘bad’ about ourselves.
By being unable or unwilling to forgive, it can further harm our mental well-being. Research shows that resentment may turn into anxiety and depression. By not forgiving, we may cause more harm to our own mental well-being.
Forgiveness is a process. Through regret, empathy and wanting to improve, the person can show that they truly want to be forgiven. It takes time to forgive someone, it takes communication and effort. At times trust is broken and security is damaged. It is about rebuilding the trust, which can lead to feeling secure again.
If we find ourselves continuing to forgive someone, only for the outcome to be the same over and over again, this is not healthy. Forgiveness does not automatically delete past feelings and thoughts.
Past feelings can be worked through, grieved for, taken apart and re-built in a way that offers you clarity and peace. This takes time. This sometimes can be difficult to do by yourself. There is no shame in asking for support. Counselling can give you the safe space to talk about your past, where you are listened too and not judged. It can help you put the pieces of your life back together again
“When you forgive, you can’t change your past – but you can change your future”.
- Forgiveness does not justify hurtful actions
- Forgiveness does not mean remaining in a relationship with the one who hurt you
- Forgiveness is not a sign of weakness
- Forgiveness does not mean you agree
- Forgiveness does not mean you will forget
- Forgiveness is understanding that the other person is human who has made a mistake
- Forgiveness is recognising that the other person’s past may have led to them act mistakenly
- Forgiveness is the desire for the other person to discover ways of resolving their personal issues
- Forgiveness is to allow oneself to live in peace
- Forgiveness is wishing the other peace
- Forgiveness is distancing oneself from those who cause harm
We are unable to change our past. By living in our past, we are reliving painful memories and feelings. Through forgiveness, we are freeing ourselves from past pain, and preventing that pain from over spilling into our relationships with others and prioritising our own self development.
Forgiveness is one of the most difficult things to do. We know people make mistakes, and we know that this part of being human. However when you and your feelings have been the consequence of that mistake or pain, it is unfair. It is hurtful and it is difficult to understand.
By talking it through with a trained counsellor, it can help you to make sense of it and to resolve any pain or conflict caused as a result. It can help you, make peace, with your past or current situation. You do not have to suffer alone.
Take Care, Sarah.