Forgiveness is hard: this is a fact which everyone who has ever been hurt by someone will agree on. It is one of the most complex and difficult concepts in human experience. Whenever we have been hurt by our partner, we feel bitterness, resentment, and anger. Forgiveness is a choice that goes against our very nature. And the fact that it goes against our very instincts makes forgiveness an important act.
We attach many conditions with forgiveness
Everybody makes mistakes, and without trust and grace in our relationships, we would be totally helpless. Culturally we attach many conditions with forgiveness as we will only forgive if the person who has wronged us asks for forgiveness or we look at it as revenge.
Forgiveness gives freedom
But forgiveness is much greater than this. In Aramaic, the word forgiveness literally means to ‘untie.’ It refers to an action that gives freedom. Forgiveness has the power to allow growth in the midst of pain, to realize the beauty when in despair. It has the power to change lives completely. But forgiveness is not easy to come by.
When you are hurt and after the initial wave of anger and resentment has passed you ask yourself a question: how to forgive a partner who has hurt you? By forgiving your partner, you let go of the judgments and grievances and let yourself heal. Although it all sounds very easy, it is sometimes nearly impossible in reality.
Misconceptions about forgiveness
Before we learn how to forgive, let us clear some misconceptions about forgiveness. Forgiving someone does not mean that you –
- Are excusing your partner’s actions
- Do not have feelings about the situation anymore
- Have forgotten that the incident ever happened
- Need to tell your partner if she or he is forgiven
- Everything is fine in your relationship now, and you don’t need to further work on it
- Have to keep that person in your life
And most importantly forgiveness is not something that you do for your partner.
By forgiving your partner, you are trying to accept the reality of the incident and trying to find a way to live with it. Forgiveness is a gradual process, and it does not necessarily involve the person you are forgiving. Forgiveness is something that you do for yourself; not for your partner. So if it is something that we do for our self and it helps us to heal and grow then why is it so hard?
Why is forgiving someone hard?
There are various reasons why we find forgiveness hard:
- You have addicted to the rush of adrenaline that anger provides you
- You like feeling superior
- You can’t think past revenge and retribution
- You self-identify yourself as a victim
- You are afraid that by forgiving you will lose your connection or will have to reconnect with your partner
- You are unable to find a solution on how to resolve the situation
These reasons can be resolved by sorting through your feelings and compartmentalizing your needs and boundaries. We have established the reasons why forgiveness is hard and what it entails the real question is how to forgive a partner who has hurt you?
How to forgive?
The basic requirement for forgiveness is the willingness to forgive. Sometimes when the hurt is too deep, or your partner has been highly abusive or has not expressed any remorse, you may not find yourself willing to forget. Do not try to attempt your partner before you have fully felt, expressed, identified, and released your pain and anger.
If you are willing to forgive your partner find a place where you can be alone with your thoughts and then follow these four steps:
1. Acknowledge the situation
Think about the incident objectively. Accept the reality of it and how it made you feel and react.
2. Learn from such incidents
Learn to grow from such incidents. What did this incident help you learn about yourself, your boundaries, and your needs?
3. See things from your partner’s perspective
Put yourself in the place of your partner to ascertain why he acted in the way that he or she did? Everybody is flawed, and it is highly probable that your partner acted from a skewed frame of reference and limited beliefs. Think about the reasons that made him act in such a hurtful way.
4. Say it out loud
Lastly, you have to decide if you want to tell your partner if you have forgiven him. If you do not want to express forgiveness directly, then do it by yourself. Say the words out loud so that you can feel free.
Forgiveness is the final seal on the incident that hurt you. Although you will not forget it, you will not be bound by it. By working through your feelings and learning about your boundaries you are better prepared to take care of yourself. Relationships are not easy. But forgiveness can heal the deepest wounds and transform the most strained relationships.