Is it Really Possible to Forgive and Forget?

Is it Really Possible to Forgive and Forget?

Is it Really Possible to Forgive and Forget?
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Forgiveness may be the last thing on your mind after someone has wronged you. It is so much easier to wallow in hate, anger and nurture thoughts of revenge than to dust yourself up and learn to forgive.

Especially if the offender is not asking for forgiveness. It might even feel good or contribute to your identity being the one hurt. Forming a major part of who you are and telling everybody all about it.

It can feel satisfyingly self-righteous! However, refusal to forgive and harbouring bitter resentment will only do more harm than good, especially in the long term.

I’ve borne grudges and refused to forgive in the past myself, but it came at considerable personal cost and caused me unnecessary agony. Fortunately, I have learnt that forgiveness is crucial to well-being and happiness.

It helps you reach a level of understanding with every person who has done you wrong and, ironically, yourself.

What is Forgiveness?

Forgiveness is the conscious act of recognising that someone has perpetrated a wrongful act against you, acknowledging the pain it has brought, and letting go of the anger and resentment that the act has produced. Forgiveness is a conscious, voluntary act that you commit to do so that you can resume living a life of peace and happiness, free from negativity.

Forgiveness benefits both the offender and the receiver. It releases the wrongdoer from any fear of retaliation from the offended person, but it helps the latter more. Why?

Forgiveness allows a person to replace hatred with peace, understanding, and happiness. States of being difficult to achieve when you burden yourself with negativity and feelings of ill-will towards another person.

Positive Intentions and the Light Switch Method

The first step in forgiveness is to focus on the intention, which is what you wish for the person who hurt you. It must be a positive aspiration, such as a hope that he or she will learn from the experience or that he or she will find peace and solace.

The next step is guarding your heart against anger and resentment. It is common to feel anger towards the person, even if you have made the conscious decision to forgive. Protect your heart against anger using the light switch method.

This is visualising turning a light switch on when you feel angry and resentful to remind yourself to focus on the positive attributes of the person or what he or she has taught you through this experience.

Importance of Gratitude

Gratitude plays an important role in learning to forgive. Start by being grateful for the lessons learned from the experience and positive changes that the person has brought to your life, whether they relate to the offending circumstance or not.

You can also be grateful for the opportunity and ability to forgive, and the freedom from the hatred and resentment that could otherwise poison your life and your relationships. Forgiveness is not a single-step process that instantly results in a changed mindset about a particular person or an offending circumstance, but ironically, being grateful for the experience and the lesson it teaches you, is remarkably liberating.

What Forgiveness Is Not

Forgiveness is not synonymous with resuming the same relationship that you had with the offending person. If a spouse cheats on their partner, forgiveness does not automatically mean reconciliation.

Wrong and hurtful acts have consequences, and among these are altered relationships and people who are wiser about whom to trust. This means even if you have forgiven someone, you still have a choice whether to let him or her back in your life.

Forgiveness is difficult to do, but to give yourself peace and happiness, you must learn to forgive. It is the greatest gift you can give yourself. By making this conscious decision, practising gratitude and acknowledging that you can choose peace and graciousness instead of resentment and revenge, you not only free the offending person, you free yourself.
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