Forgive and Remember the Lesson - #4
Updated: Jan 24
Why should we forgive?
To maintain feelings of anger and bitterness robs us of peace of mind. Letting go of intense negative emotions related to an event where we were wronged frees us to enjoy the present moment and to move forward with our lives.
Does forgiveness require us to forget that we were treated unfairly?
Forgiveness does not require us to forget what happened. If a friend borrowed $150 dollars from you and promised to pay it back in two weeks, I doubt that you would be fine with the friend just blowing you off. You would need to make a decision as to what would be the best thing for you to do, if the friend makes no effort to repay you.
If I forgive someone, do I need to treat him or her the same as I did before being wronged?
You can choose to treat the person the same or to treat them differently. If your friend does not pay the money he borrowed, you have a choice. It would not be in your best interest to get caught up in a cycle of anger and vindictiveness, because that would be hurtful to you. You may decide to end the relationship. You could choose to forgive, and remember the lesson that your friend is not trustworthy in financial dealings. If you decide you want to remain friends, you may make the decision that you will not loan the person money in the future. Forgive for your peace of mind and remember the lesson that your friend is not trustworthy when it comes to borrowing money.
How do I forgive someone who has wronged me?
Forgiveness is a process, and is often difficult to do. There are times when we can have open and honest communication with the offending party. Communication often goes better when we describe the situation bothering us in a factual way without blaming. We can then explain how we feel and why we feel that way. It is important to communicate what we want the person to do. Finally, it is helpful to communicate why it would be important to do what we ask.
Example: "Jeff, when you borrowed $150 dollars from me and said you'd pay me back in two weeks and then didn't, I felt surprised and hurt because I believed you would keep your word. I would like for you to pay me back the full amount, or make $50 monthly payments until I'm paid back. If you do this, I feel we can continue to be friends. If you are unwilling to work this out with me, I feel I can't be friends with someone I can't trust."
How can I forgive someone who physically abused me?
If you were in an abusive relationship, you do not need to see or have anything to do with that person to forgive him or her. It may be helpful to go through the following steps to forgive.
1. Recognize your feelings and understand that you have a right to your feelings. Often anger can help us to take action to protect ourselves from abuse.
2. Write a no send letter to the person who abused you. No send means you are writing it to process your feelings and that you will not send it to the person who has hurt you. Write about the abuse and how it impacted you.
3. Recognize what you did that contributed to the problem, even if the only thing you did wrong was to trust someone who was manipulative, verbally abusive, and physically violent.
4. Attempt to try to understand why the other person did what they did. Some abusers are more likely to harm others when they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Some have a mental illness. Others were spoiled or abused themselves as children. Do not try to justify their actions, but simply know that there are reasons they are the way they are.
5. Plan what you need to do to end the relationship and the steps you need to take to be safe.
6. Choose to forgive so you will no longer allow the person to have a hold on your feelings and prevent you from having peace of mind.
7. Visualize seeing yourself free from the abuser's manipulation and control. Visualize how good you will feel when you no longer rent space in your mind to that person.