Forgiveness DOES NOT equal letting someone off the hook
How to forgive someone
What to do if someone hurt me
How to heal when someone hurt me
The difficult thing in relationships is that two people can live together and be living in completely different realities. People fight because they try to push each other’s realities onto the other. What we suppress in ourselves, we will see it reflected in the other person and we will have a problem with it. We are more interconnected and are a reflection of each other than we think. Let’s say that you walk away from a toxic relationship and you end up with anger and resentment. The years go by and maybe you continue to hold on to that anger and resentment. You may say things like: “I’ll never forget what they did” or “I’ll never trust anyone else”.
Later down the road you learn that holding on to anger and resentment only hurts you, and not the other person. You try to forgive but it feels like if you forgive that person, it means that you are letting them "off the hook". Somehow you thought that as long as you hold on to that anger and resentment and never forget what they did, you will hold some sort of “righteousness” about it. The thing is that two people can be right at the same time, because again, we live in different realities. Your truth is only your truth and not “THE" truth.
When we are angry, we aren't able to see another person's perspective. We just can't. Anger keeps you fixed minded, in one spot, never moving or growing. Anger has its purpose and you must honor it; but, you must use that energy and not store it. If and when you are not angry anymore; or are at least working on it, you may begin to see that perhaps that great damage you thought they caused you, was more of a “bumping” of two realities in which one person happened to hurt the other as they were learning about their own life hurdles, and the other person was hurt so that they are pushed in the right direction. Life is a lot like a bumper car ride.
Check your feelings, if you are angry at the thought of having to let go and forgive the person who hurt you, you must honor your anger and work through it, not try to repress it. Check my blog on Healthy Anger Management.
If you are ready to forgive, then you may begin to try to understand what else could have happened and try to see the person’s perspective and their reality. Come up with some theories, but do not focus too much on what “the truth” is. Remember, it is impossible to fully see life from someone else’s perspective because we are not them. As you come up with some theories, the idea is that you allow yourself to feel compassion and love for the other person. This is the hardest thing, I know, but remember that you are doing this for you, not them. You're not “letting them off the hook”. You are actually letting yourself off the hook. They will not benefit from this anymore than you will, the peace and strength you will gain after forgiving someone will benefit you immensely in all aspects of your life.
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