Learning how to forgive is a lifelong lesson that consists of many uncomfortable situations. There is power in forgiveness and even more power in letting go. Oftentimes, when we forgive someone there may be an issue with letting the situation go. Learning to let go after forgiving is a separate challenge within itself. Our emotions are tied to so many people and situations that at times, may cause us to project due to our inability to forgive the people that originally caused our grief and anguish.
Family may be the most likely to bruise our emotions, due to them knowing us inside and out. This vulnerability leaves us open to disappointment from those whom we have known all our lives. Coincidentally this vulnerability also makes it harder to forgive family.
There is a fine line between hate and forgiveness and often, family teeters on that line. “Why is it easy for some to forgive family yet, harder for others?” The answer to this question lies in a person's upbringing. If someone grew up feeling like the “black sheep” in the family and never truly felt like they belonged, it may be more difficult to forgive the family as time goes on due to the emotional foundation that was established early on. On the flip side, if someone grew up to feel included within the family unit it may be a bit easier for that individual to extend forgiveness to their family due to the collaboration within his/her family unit.
As humans, at times we may not realize the true nature behind forgiveness and taking these steps will put you on the road to forgiveness within your family.
- Remove yourself from the problem. Oftentimes, we are too close to the issue at hand to analyze it accurately and it may be best to step back from the situation.
- Gauge the true meaning behind the disagreement. A lot of times we must figure out if there has been a misunderstanding or a full-blown betrayal.
- If you decide to forgive, because it is up to you, you must do it for yourself and no one else.
- Remember, just because you find the strength to forgive someone that does not mean that you must continue the relationship. It is up to you to decipher if that family dynamic is worth preserving.
Learning to let go is not easy, especially when a family is involved, however, let this serve as a blueprint on your journey to forgiveness.
Forgiving A Partner
Partnerships are the very foundation upon which our universe is built. There is duality in everything we see, which is why it is no surprise that we seek out our other half. Whether it be a marriage, a friendship, a business partner, or any other interpersonal connection we seek out these close-knit partnerships due to our nature to connect. These connections are not always easy to navigate, and we often find ourselves at a crossroads when deciding whether we should continue dealings with certain individuals.
When it comes to forgiving partners, I have found that we tend to easily forgive friends and people we must work with or be in close proximity to. This may be due to a subconscious need to keep the peace when it involves our public image or business dealings because it directly correlates with our livelihood. Forgiving an intimate partner may be easy, however, the remnant of the perceived betrayal makes it hard to let go of the offense.
Let us use an example. If there is a situation with spouses involving infidelity, there may be a hesitation to forgive. Sometimes the betrayal may feel too great to forgive, let alone release. It is at this moment that you must start to take inventory of your life and determine what stays and what goes.
There are a few things that you can proactively do in order to bring yourself to a space to forgive a spouse or partner, they are as follows:
- Detach from the issue, I know this may seem counterproductive, but detachment helps to view an issue from a unique perspective.
- Take care of your own emotions and nurture yourself. Although we may want to blame someone else for not making us feel better, our emotions are our own responsibility.
- Take as much time as you need to process the situation and your next move.
- When you decide to forgive you have to understand that if you choose to continue the partnership or marriage you will have to work through any lingering emotions so that it does not affect the relationship moving forward.
Time really does heal wounds. Forgiving someone is not an overnight ordeal, progress is a slow process. Take your time and practice self-reflection.
Forgiving Yourself and Letting Go
We sometimes believe that if we forgive someone who hurt us that we are excusing their behavior. Although it may feel that way, there is tremendous healing power in forgiving and letting go. The forgiveness part is for you, by forgiving someone we open our hearts and free our minds from captivity from the given situation. Being honest with oneself about what you want for yourself and how you want to be treated is the first step in your journey to self-actualization.
It may sound cliché, but you also must forgive yourself. You are forgiving yourself for all the times that you did not advocate for yourself, for the times that you stayed silent when it came to your feelings and most of all the times when you said yes when you should have said no. Letting go can be symbolic, creating a release process can help you shed the situation and the outcome.
The following are some foundational tips on the journey of forgiving yourself:
- Take it slow. I think we all have this idea in our mind that once we forgive then the emotional pain is going to disappear, which is not the case.
- The most difficult part of the process is letting go. Saying “I’m sorry” or, “I apologize” is just the beginning.
- Letting go consists of events that move you on the path to healing.
- Lastly, this is not a race and there is no advantage in healing quickly, be patient with yourself.
Forgiveness of self is sometimes the most challenging thing you may ever attempt. This may be because it is easier to express that someone has hurt you. However, it is much harder to express how we may have been the precursor to our own pain by ignoring and allowing bad behavior. Remember, we teach people how to treat us, and if we stand by and do not become advocates for ourselves, we can easily slip into a passive-aggressive state and not stand up for our own interests.
Your Call to Action
Now it is time to call back your energy, you have taken a big step towards letting go, and now it’s time to apply what you have learned. I challenge you to show up for yourself each time you may feel uncomfortable doing so, taking this step ensures that your voice is heard loud and clear. Remember, forgiveness has levels, and it is highly possible that during the journey to forgiving you will not want to be present. It is okay to not be okay. You do yourself an injustice by holding repressed feelings inside, forgiving, and letting go travel hand in hand.