Inside This Article
- 1 What Then Is Forgiveness?
- 2 8 Steps That Will Help You Forgive Even If It Seems Impossible
To err is human, to forgive is divine
We often hear this and somehow this statement implies that it is quite easy and normal for humans to err but pretty hard to forgive, which means you must be a divine being to forgive someone who has hurt you. We have all been hurt at some point in our lives, either by parents, colleagues, friends, loved ones, neighbours or even strangers and I am sure you wonder sometimes why some people feel they have a lifetime guarantee that enables them to just say “sorry” and all goes back to normal.
Truth be told, when you put blowing up a building and forgiving someone side by side, you discover that it is quite easy to blow up a building. But, just as counting from 1-50 is a process and also getting a certificate for a degree requires learning, so also is forgiveness a natural human process that can be learnt over time before it becomes a part of us.
What Then Is Forgiveness?
You might think forgiveness simply means letting go or giving in, the ability to forget and pretend the hurt never occurred, you might also see forgiveness as a feeling or a sign of weakness, or a gift for the offender or the society. What if I told you that you are completely wrong? What if I told you that forgiveness is the opposite of all the aforementioned?
Contrary to what you think forgiveness is, forgiveness is not just about letting go, but building a system that repels the hurt from occurring again, it’s not about forgetting but carefully sieving what to remember and what not to remember, you can’t totally forget your past experiences, either good or bad you shouldn’t because your past contributes to what you are presently and it also helps you build your future.
Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, a gift that brings inner peace, as you decide not to hold on to the pain, hurt, tears and agony. Forgiveness is also not a feeling, you don’t just wake up one morning and say “I finally feel like or I am finally in the mood to forgive my father, who turned my mother into his punching bag for over 30 years, or I finally feel like forgiving my lecturer who held my results for 3 extra years because I didn’t succumb to his requests”, it’s a choice you make to be free.
I should applaud myself right now because I have successfully schooled you on what forgiveness is, how hard forgiving is but why you should forgive. And as I said earlier, it’s a process that is learnable over time. Stay with me, don’t get lost, now let’s talk about that process, how to learn how to forgive. Below are some steps to guide you on how to learn how to forgive. You don’t have to follow them accordingly; you can start from whichever makes you comfortable and strong.
8 Steps That Will Help You Forgive Even If It Seems Impossible
1. Start From Little
You have to gradually move from “I forgive you for calling me short” to “I forgive you for lying to me for four years”. You have to learn to walk, then run before you ultimately fly.
2. Express Your Emotions
To learn how to forgive, you need to acknowledge your feelings, thereby expressing your emotions. You can’t just sit on your couch, munching on chocolate and fries, watching Netflix and expect everything to chill. No, you should yell if you have to, or even cry, because the more you hold the tears in, the more pain and agony you will feel.
But while expressing your emotions, you need to do it constructively, don’t transfer your aggression to a third party who knows nothing about what you are going through, don’t hurt someone else because you have been hurt.
3. Talk It Out
Now, this might sound tricky because you have just been hurt. But, when you fall off a horse, you get back on and you become a better rider. To get to that stage where you choose to forgive, you need to empty all the bad wine in your bottles and even throw the bottles away, by talking it out with others.
When you talk, you realize that others have been through either the same or worse and you find out how they got over the hurt.
4. Embrace The Hurt
You don’t have to pretend it never happened, you need to say to yourself “yes, I have been in an abusive relationship and it hurt, yes I just got duped by my friend and it hurts”.
You are not saying it is ok to feel that way, neither are you justifying the offenders’ actions, you are simply saying that you can’t reverse the past but what you can do is prevent the occurrence from reoccurring.
5. Practice Breathing Exercise
This might sound funny, but trust me, yoga doesn’t only help to lose weight, it also helps to lose hate. When you breathe out anger, resentment, tears, agony, stress, your breath in love, compassion, inner peace, happiness, forgiveness and every other goodness that goes with the wind.
6. Be Understanding
it is important to understand why people act the way they do; this would help you build a shield to protect yourself.
Understanding also helps you learn forbearance, the ability to forgive as soon as you are hurt, because once you understand the reasons behind how people act the way they do, you realize that it is easier to move from forbearance to forgiveness.
7. Forgive Yourself
Forgiveness is not just about forgiving the offender but also about forgiving yourself. You must first treat yourself before you treat others.
8. Acquire Strength
Forgiveness is not a sign of weakness; in fact, it takes a really strong person to say “I forgive you”. To learn how to forgive, you must first acquire strength mentally, you must be strong beyond your age or size to let go of the pain.
I can go on and on, but the most important step to learning how to forgive, is YOU, your DETERMINATION to be free, happy and stable, both mentally and physically.
Make that choice to stay happy, because the life journey we are on, requires you to be that way at all times.