It sometimes seems that those who hurt us the most are those to whom we are the closest. In close, intimate relationships we lay down our all and are honest about our fears and weaknesses. The more vulnerable we are, the more difficult it is to recover from betrayal and loss. Yet, it’s a risk that some dare to take and one that others avoid at all costs. One may choose to take the initial step to forgive but find that it may take years for the matter to resolve. As a young lady eloquently said in a group therapy session,
“We may never forget the act but can eventually release the emotional agony that came with the insult.”
In other words, we can come to the place where our emotions no longer have dominance. One day we’re able to face the individual who caused the hurt and honestly say “there are no hard feelings.” The following are steps I’ve taken personally in my life to walk in forgiveness:
· Forgive myself and not blame myself for the offense.
· Realize that hurting people hurt people. This is not an excuse but a way of coming to terms with the fact that the person did not truly know how to love me because of unresolved issues in their life.
· Apologize for any wrongs I may have done unknowingly even if I believe I did no wrong.
· I don’t focus on the negative but try to remember all the good things about the individual and ways in which they may have contributed positively in my life.
· Last, I find closure by realizing that some friendships only last for a season. Thereby, I hold on to the good and choose not to focus on the bad experiences.
Hopefully, these steps can lead you toward the path of forgiveness in your own life. I want to re-emphasize the fact that just because you choose to forgive does not imply that all negative feelings about the individual will cease. It may take time. Also be aware that forgiveness on your part does not always equate to acknowledgement of guilt or even empathy on the perpetrator’s end. Remember that forgiveness is for you.
“The forgiveness that you refuse will be the forgiveness that you seek. When you have compassion for others when they make mistakes you will receive compassion when you make yours. And, you will continue to make mistakes.” (Williams, 2011)
Williams, N. A. (2011). Girl’s Best Friend: Forgiveness is for You. Retrieved April 10, 2012 from http://www.essence.com/2011/08/18/girls-best-friend-forgiveness-is-for-you/