Forgiving and moving on is an important part of leading a more positive and enjoyable life. It seems like holding onto grudges stains our hearts and doesn’t allow us to move on, keeping us stuck in a negativity cycle. Or with a grief in our hearts.
You may reply: “Forgiving someone is not as easy as it seems.” Depending on what’s been done to you, I tend to agree. It often takes some time before someone is ready to forgive. But you also need to be open to that thought or you might end up carrying that grudge your whole life.
Being imperfect humans that we are, we might start to generalize based on our grudge. I often hear people say “everyone is selfish and has a hidden agenda” based on a disagreement with someone they cared deeply about. Holding on to those negative feelings only prevents you from seeing the positive in our life and moving on. And like the self-fulfilling prophecy theory by sociologist Robert Merton states, the more negative or positive is your vision of life, the more probable it is for you to follow a path where your beliefs are met. Meaning, if you expect the worse, the worse will happen with a little help from you. (This is why keeping an optimistic mind usually helps).
Why forgive someone?
Not being able to forgive someone and repairing a broken relationship, especially with a family member is one of the most common regrets in later life and for people facing death. At the end of one’s life cycle, people are able to admit to themselves that holding on to a grudge and not being able to forgive someone was simply a waste of time and good energy.
Also, the power of forgiving as personal transformation cannot be ignored. Forgiving someone is a liberating process, a way to grow on a personal level. Being able to forgive and move on is a way to live a more fulfilling and liberated life. Holding on to a grudge is, in some ways, a form of imprisoning yourself.
Learn how to forgive
It’s not easy forgiving people when they’ve hurt us deeply. So the first step is for you to feel the need to forgive, to let go of that grudge.
- You must be ready to let go. It takes time to heal when someone has disappointed us. But don’t close the door to that possibility. Someday you’ll be able to forgive and move on.
- Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting. There is always a life’s lesson to learn. And remember, the guilt has both ways. Admitting your part in a situation is not only a sign of humility but also can help your understand the reasons behind someone’s actions and make it easier to forgive.
- Being able to admit others are not perfect. And neither is yourself. We all make mistakes, say things we shouldn’t have said and do things that inadvertently hurt others. Admitting anyone, including yourself, may hurt someone is half-way into admitting it’s a human frailty of ours and no one can escape from it. So why not forgive?
- Talking things through. Either with a close friend or family member, with a therapist or, if you’re ready, with the person you need to forgive.
- Repairing broken damages. Some relationships do recover and stay stronger after a big fight and being forgiven and talked through. It may take time, but it’s definitely worth it.
- Forgiving is also a personal transformation. Sometimes, unfortunately it’s not possible to say it aloud to that person we forgive them. But it doesn’t mean that if you forgive them in your heart, it’s less valid or has less effects on you. I find it very useful to write a letter stating all I want to say to the person who has wronged me and forgiving them on paper. The letter may never reach its recipient but it helps relieve the burden by forgiving and moving on.
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thefra/4269346375/