The Gift of Forgiveness

The gift of forgiveness

Relationships can bring such joy and excitement in a person’s life. It’s such a thrilling experience to be able to share your life with someone else. At some point, however, you will experience feelings of hurt, anger or disappointment in varying degrees about something your partner has done or said. Hopefully, these feelings are far outweighed by the bliss and contentment you feel with your partner.

Willingness to forgive is an important aspect of any relationship

Forgiveness can be difficult and is especially challenging when the other person is not remorseful. You may wonder if you can forgive someone if they are not sorry. The answer is YES! Forgiveness isn’t colored with the expectations that the other person apologizes or change. When you think about all that you have to gain from forgiving, you may realize that it’s worth it despite your partner not acknowledging their wrong doing. Forgiveness is something you do for yourself to decrease your level of psychological distress by releasing toxic negative emotions.

Here are some helpful things to know about forgiveness:

  • You need to have realistic expectations. Understand that forgiveness takes time and progress may fluctuate during the process. The deeper the wound, the harder forgiveness can be and the longer it may take.
  • Acceptance is a part of forgiveness but not all acceptance is forgiveness. Accepting what happened doesn’t necessarily mean you have forgiven. You can accept the facts of a situation but still choose not to forgive.
  • The saying “time heals all wounds” does not necessarily ring true for everyone. Forgiveness is an active process, not a passive one. You must be intentional about this.
  • Reconciliation is not a sign of forgiveness. You can reconcile with your partner without forgiving them.

Forgiveness means that you are choosing peace of mind and that you recognize that you have the power to choose your perceptions and thoughts. It means that you are choosing to free yourself from the past and embrace the present by choosing to live in it. It means you refuse to be a victim and choose empowerment instead.

If forgiveness is something you want to do but are struggling with how to start the process, you can start by acknowledging the pain that has been caused by your partner and how it’s impacting you. Evaluate what you have to gain and lose from forgiving. What will you gain if you forgive? Consider also what you will you give up if you forgive? While you may not be responsible for what happened, you are most certainly responsible for your attitude and how you respond in the short and long term. Assess your own attitudes and beliefs about forgiveness. Your personal beliefs strongly influence how you react and whether or not you believe forgiveness is possible or even beneficial to you. Forgiveness is truly a gift you to give yourself. You need to allow yourself the time to heal from your emotional wounds and to move forward in the healthiest way possible.

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Kerri Anne Brown
Counselor, LMHC
Kerri-Anne Brown is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Addictions Professional specializing in individuals, couples and family therapy. Her experience in working with individuals who have experienced trauma, abandonment, grief/loss, depression and anxiety began in a group home working with adolescent females in South Florida. Her passion for helping others heal from the challenges they faced in their lives only grew from there. She extended her work with adolescents to include working with the families as well to improve the treatment outcomes for her clients. Her desire is simply to help clients navigate through the challenges of life.

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