Imagine your significant other did something that hurt you so deeply you couldn’t bring yourself to let it go. To make matters worse, your significant other never acknowledged any wrongdoing.
Would forgiveness be possible?
Forgiveness implies that someone has apologized
With no apology, how does one forgive?
Forgiveness is a very personal decision and it’s generally not given easily. With or without an apology, there comes a point at which the person feeling wronged and hurt, and needs to decide if the pain is worth holding on to.
There is nothing positive to gain from holding a grudge.
The dictionary defines a grudge as “a persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult of injury.”
Grudges don’t strengthen relationships or improve intimacy.
Consider these 8 tips to help you move towards forgiveness:
1. Ask yourself, “Have I told my significant other how hurt I feel?”
We sometimes assume our partner should know how we feel. Never assume. If you haven’t said it, there’s a strong chance your partner doesn’t know.
Find a way to communicate what you’re feeling. Schedule a time to sit down and talk or consider putting your thoughts in a letter. We can’t resolve conflicts without communication.
2. Ask yourself, “What am I gaining from holding on to the hurt?”
Generally, people don’t hold on to hurt feelings because they want to.
There’s no denying it can be incredibly difficult to let go. People often mistake holding on to hurt withholding the wrongdoer accountable.
The burden is rarely on the wrongdoer, which means the person suffering most, is you.
3. Remember that letting go of the hurt doesn’t mean you have to forget
People sometimes equate letting go with letting the wrongdoer get away with what he or she did. This is not true.
Letting go is not intended to help the person who hurt you. It is intended to help you. Give yourself the gift of a lighter heart and less burden to carry.
4. Ask yourself, who else might be suffering?
If you feel deeply hurt, it’s very likely those around you are feeling an impact as well (e.g. children, relatives, friends, coworkers).
Considering the larger impact can be a step towards realizing it’s time to move forward.
5. Ask yourself, “Which is stronger, the love I feel for my partner or the hurt I feel?”
As hard as emotional pain can be to let go, inevitably we are the only ones with the power to release it.
A year from now, do you want to be carrying the weight of the pain you’re feeling or do you want to carry the weight of the love you have for each other?
6. Make a list
Feelings can easily become overwhelming and writing is a way to help you work through them.
Think about the emotional pain you’re feeling and make a list of all the ways it is helping you and all the ways it is hurting you. Seeing things in writing can sometimes shift our perspective.
7. Take inventory
Sometimes people try to say sorry through their actions, especially when they can’t say it with words.
Has your significant other tried to make amends in other ways? Consider that there is some value in being grateful for their efforts.
8. Try to stay open
While no one can force you to be ready to let go or to forgive, keep your heart open to the possibility.
You deserve to enjoy your life and holding on to emotional pain can often get in the way. Seek support from a trusted friend, family member, or therapist. Healing is always possible if you have an open heart.