Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as revenge, with an increased ability to wish the offender well. -> American Psychological Association. Forgiveness: A Sampling of Research Results.”.
If you’re looking for inner peace, than you’ve probably heard that you should forgive. Forget, let go, move on, and live happily!
But what if I don’t want to? What if I’m not ready to forgive? Many people go through horrible experiences. If they got hurt very deeply, it’s understandable they might not want to forgive their oppressor.
I was recently talking to my good girlfriend, who shared with me her story of the first relationship she was in. It was toxic, destructive, dangerous. We talked about moving on and learning from our relationships and she confined in me that she does not want to forgive him.
A few weeks ago I broke up with my boyfriend and I do not want to forgive him, either. Ever since I’ve been a total mess. I’m struggling with depression and trying to eliminate all the negative thoughts running through my head.
It’s hard for me to find the goodness in him and reason behind why he hurt me. I know in few months I’ll be ready, but for now I’m not. I don’t want to forgive him. At least for now.
So what can you do if you do not want to forgive the other person but you do want to move on and stop feeling all the negativity and guilt?
Here is the way to doing so that I’ve discovered during my journey.
1. Accept how you feel
" Yes, I should forgive him. I should. I should..." – all the shoulds.
Well, all it does is that it puts additional pressure on you. If you don’t want to forgive that person just accept your feeling. “I don’t want to forgive them”.
It’s the first step. Be honest about how you feel, and don’t judge yourself. You’re already going through tough time, you don’t need to add guilt to it.
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
Well, let us be weak before we get strong.
2. Be open that with time you will feel ready to forgive
While accepting you don’t want to forgive them now, stay open that with time your feelings might change and you will become ready to do it. I accepted that for now I do not want to forgive him, but I also understand that in few months, when I manage to get out of my depression, I might finally see the whole situation in a different light. Nothing you know is ultimate and nothing lasts forever.
One thing you don’t want to do is torture yourself. You’re probably often replaying harmful events in you mind, remembering the past. And every time you do it, you feel the pain and anger coming back.
Don’t forgive, but forget. Forget about what happened. Start doing things you love, to keep your mind distracted. Stay away from that person. Remove messages, phone number and anything else that reminds you of them.
I believe that when forgiveness is difficult, forgetting is the first step. You want to forget the pain, the guilt, the blame, the suffering. You want to forget that person. And then slowly you will be ready to forgive as well.
4. Reach out for support
You’re going through a difficult time and most likely you can’t do it on your own. You might think you can, and then you fail. Don’t put that stress on yourself. You don’t have to do it all on your own. There are people ready to support and help you. Reach out to your family, your friends or to a therapist. I know it’s difficult to believe that (at least for me it is), but you are not a burden. Ask for help, and you will get it.
5. Give it time
Time is the best healer. Even though when you’re hurting it’s difficult to believe that the pain will fade with time, it will. Time can be our best friend. And so give yourself time to forgive, too. You don’t have to do anything now. Do things when you’re ready for them. It might be in few weeks, months or years. Just trust that time will bring peace and bring you closer to forgiving – whenever you are ready.
I hope these steps will help you deal with hard and painful memories and especially stop blaming yourself for not forgiving.
If you know of any more tips to help in it, please share with me and everybody else. I, for sure, need these tips, as well.
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