Getting hurt is a part of life. Humans are complex beings. We love hard, make mistakes, get stuck in habits that are both healthy and unhealthy. Sometimes we don’t make the best decisions, and sometimes we hurt others. It’s inevitable and simply beyond our control. And forgiving those who hurt us can be a true challenge in some situations. Still, Holding onto negative emotions, such as anger and resentment, can deteriorate your mental health and physical wellbeing. In fact, studies show that there are even health benefits to forgiveness. Think lower risk of heart attack, improved cholesterol levels and sleep, reduced pain, blood pressure, and levels of anxiety, depression and stress ( source ).
As you can see, forgiveness is an act of kindness first and foremost towards yourself. Of course, the person receiving your forgiveness benefits too. So it’s important to learn how to find peace and move on after you choose to forgive! And with that, today’s post is all about how to forgive someone who hurt you. We are sharing our best strategies for those of you who find it difficult to forgive so you can look forward in life and avoid endless resentment. Keep reading to learn our tips!
How To Forgive Someone Who Hurt You:
First, allow yourself to feel hurt and angry.
It’s okay to let yourself feel whatever emotions first arise when someone hurts you. No matter the situation, the proper thing to do is always to reconnect back to your feelings. If someone causes you damage, it’s only natural for you to be caused emotional discomfort. The last thing you want to do is bottle those emotions up. Instead feel them, process them, and consider why you feel those emotions. So go ahead and process those negative emotions, you don’t need to ask permission for how you feel.
Put your feelings into words and make them heard.
If you’re truly angry and exasperated by the situation, then make those feelings heard. Tell the friend, family member, significant other, etc. how you were hurt. Communicate in any way that feels right to you. Speak face to face. Write a letter with the exact reason why their actions hurt you and how that made you feel or affected your wellbeing. You can send them a text or give them a call if it seems right. The most important thing is to use radical transparency and honesty in your communication in order to move towards forgiveness. By doing this, you’ll feel a weight lifted off your chest.
Rationalize why resentment is not a constructive decision.
Resenting someone forever will not fix anything. In fact, it will make the situation worse. Sure, for a few weeks or months it can feel right to let your pride take the wheel. But at some point, those low vibration, negative feelings only harm you. At the end of the day, moving towards a higher energy and more loving energy towards your fellow human beings is the best path. Resentment and anger will bring you down and can even negatively impact those around you if you don’t keep it in check. Holding onto resentments holds you back from being able to move on with your life! So take a moment to think and recognize to yourself that the most growth mindset approach here is to work towards letting it go.
Look at both angles of the situation with empathy.
Maybe the other person didn’t actually mean any harm to you. Perhaps they were in a difficult position that caused them to hurt you. You’ll never know until you analyze the situation with a clear mind and empathy above all. Look at both sides of the argument! Release judgement and shame and focus on more productive, positive thoughts. The results of the process might make it easier for you to forgive the other person. If not, at least you took the time to assess the situation. So now you can possibly be the bigger person and forgive!
In conflict, sometimes both sides acted in an undesirable way. You might be having a hard time forgiving the other person because you’re not looking at your own actions honestly. If you need to forgive someone else, the first step might be to forgive yourself before you can even go there. So give yourself some grace, and use these tips to forgive yourself, then work on forgiving the other party or parties.
Work on your stress levels.
Perhaps you spend the days stressed by work, school, or personal reasons. If someone hurts you and your stress levels are already high, it will only cause them to skyrocket! You’ll benefit from having a mindfulness practice, such as meditation, yoga, or journaling. It can seem unnecessary, but it can create a solid change in your life! Next time you feel hurt, meditate on it or do some exercise before taking any drastic decisions. If you enjoy learning about personal development or how to manage your stress and grow, check out our list of the best personal growth podcasts.
Be objective about the consequences.
What happened after that person hurt you? How was your life truly impacted? Put things into perspective and ask yourself is it really worth holding negativity in your space. What happens if you decide to forgive them? And of course, what happens if you don’t? If you forgive and allow the person back in your life, are you risking physical and emotional danger? Those are the questions you should be asking yourself. If you feel this is truly a toxic relationship that impacts your mental health, and you can’t conceive the thought of reconciling with the other person, you can still forgive for your own mental wellness. Simply decide to just keep your distance and forgive them internally.
You can always forgive, but you don’t have to forget.
Forgiveness does wonders for any type of bond, but only if both parties want to reconcile. Reconciliation comes from mutual understanding and respect. If you forgive someone, and they continue to harm you. You don’t need to give them a clean slate each time. It’s okay to choose your own mental health and wellness, and move on from a relationship. Forgiveness is all about your internal process and your ability to release negative emotions. It doesn’t mean you continue to allow yourself to be harmed physically, mentally, or emotionally. You’re free to keep your distance for as long as you need!
Set boundaries with the person you’ve forgiven.
So you’ve decided to forgive and move forward. Wonderful! Now it’s time to set boundaries. Boundaries are simply there to help you protect your mental and emotional wellness. Once you’ve forgiven someone and decided to move forward in a relationship, it’s important to set and communicate your boundaries moving forward. No one is perfect, so don’t be too hard on yourself or the person you’ve forgiven. It will take time to get used to new boundaries. However establishing boundaries will make a huge difference in your life and allow you to protect your mental health more efficiently. If you need help in this department, we have a whole article on how to set boundaries with family.
Find creative ways to release and forgive.
If you’re having trouble letting go of anger, resentment, or just feeling like you’re not truly forgiving inside, it’s time to get creative. Sometimes we need a physical release. Write your feelings of resentment down on a piece of paper, then burn it. Go take a boxing class. Or try breath work, which is an incredible and totally natural way to release stubborn feelings stored in your body. Heck, maybe take a boxing class. Support your body through a physical release of any negative feelings.
Do you find it difficult to forgive someone that hurt you?
It can be difficult to forgive someone. But in the end, it’s the best choice for your mental health, wellbeing, and your personal connections. So try these tips, tricks, and strategies and make the effort to be the bigger person by choosing to forgive. Do you have trouble forgiving those who hurt you? How do you fight through the resentment? Let us know in the comments below! We love to hear your stories. Also, check out the rest of our blog for more practical advice and information related to the podcasting industry.