Steps to Forgiveness

Forgiveness is not always the easiest thing to accomplish. You might feel as though you will never get over the pain someone else has caused with their wrongdoings. Even once the initial and immediate anger lessens, you may dwell on the betrayal you felt, instead of allowing it to fade away and become a distant bad memory.

The challenges that accompany forgiveness are in part because it is not well understood. Many think to forgive someone means you forget what took place or say the pain inflicted was not too bad and not a big deal or you can resume the relationship you once had immediately. None of this is completely true about forgiveness. It is more about letting go of your anger, hurt, and the need to seek revenge.

It is important to understand when we forgive another person for their hurtful, disappointments, deceitfulness, or any other negative act, we are not forgiving them for their benefit, but instead for ourselves. There may be a lengthy process when we decide to forgive, and this process cannot be rushed, or we will never be successful in forgiving anyone.

The first step is to uncover your anger. Unfortunately, in our society and cultures, anger is often hidden until and unless it explodes into full-blown rage. Everyone experiences anger, especially when we deal with betrayal, but many bottles those feeling up and hide them from others, and even from ourselves because we do not want to face things.

It can be scary and take a great deal of courage to be open and honest when it comes to anger. Honestly, I am the type that bottles up my anger until I explode, kind of like if you shake up a coke bottle and then open it. This is never a good situation. Although, as I have gotten older and more mature, I can decide to pick my battles and understand when things are not that important and can be let go of.

To uncover and acknowledge anger from the past and present, it may be helpful to allow your mind to remember what you have tried to forget. Think about and even journal about anger felt during childhood, school life, work, family, friends, and romantic relationships. I know the list might get long and overwhelming, but this can help your mental well-being for your future. Exposing feelings that are deep down will bring emotions to the surface and allow you to work through them.

The second step is the make the decision to forgive. When someone causes us deep emotional pain, it is in our human nature to hold onto that pain and anger as tightly as we can. No matter how much we want to let it go, it might not be the right time because we have not been able to process our emotions completely. Of course, it is not easy to remember that holding onto anger does not harm the other person as much as it does us by causing us more pain and suffering. The hurt and anger we are clenching onto produce many types of stress chemicals that will flood our bodies, causing us to feel physically and emotionally drained, and possibly cause sickness.

The third step is to work on forgiveness. An approach referred to as reframing enables you to look at the original transgression in a new way. There is a chance there were some circumstances you were not able to understand or consider at first. The best course of action is to begin simple and small. In your heart, you may not know how you will forgive the other person. On the logical part of your mind, you can open the door to the possibility that you will be able to forgive in time. 

Some acts are unforgivable such as being physically or sexually abused, or if you were the victim of another type of terrible and or heinous act. I am in no way suggesting anything as bad as these acts are forgettable or forgivable or that the other person deserves a pass because that is far from the truth. However, I am saying you are worth more and that other people will face the consequences of their actions in time, even if it is not in the time frame it should be.

The final step of forgiveness is to be released from the emotional prison we have been in for days, months, or even years. You will be able to understand that you are not alone, and many others have suffered similar situations. There are support groups available for every devastating circumstance in life. It may be helpful to know you are never alone and there are others that can understand and offer advice for how to overcome your pain.

During the final step, it may be useful to see from the experiences in your life, how much you have grown and changed. All the pains and struggles in life have created who we are today and that is something we can be proud of.  As we learn to forgive others for their wrongdoings, we must also learn self-forgiveness. We are not responsible for the pains inflicted on us from others, but we can choose what we will do with the lessons we have learned.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope what I have shared with you today will help you understand more about what forgiveness means and I am sure there are other steps for everyone. What I have shared are just a few steps that I have learned over the years. Please keep in mind, only you know when you are ready to forgive another person, and no one can force you to do so before you are ready. I am looking forward to reading your comments and will respond to your comments as quickly as I possibly can. I hope you never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

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