Often times when a person thinks of forgiveness he/she will think that forgiveness is associated with forgetting. When a person commits an act toward someone that can be seen as unforgivable the person offended may think that the perpetrator is not worthy of forgiveness. This ideology can be detrimental not in regards to the relationship of the two people but also to the person harboring the anger and resentment toward the transgressor.
Un-forgiveness can lead to physical and mental health problems such as body aches, headaches, anger, depression and anxiety to name a few. In order to prevent un-forgiveness from taking a toll on one’s health and wellbeing one may think to themselves “I want to forgive but how do I let go? “ Forgiveness is a process that involves relinquishing control of the anger and resentment and making the conscious effort to move forward. It is normal for one to not forget a heinous act or past transgression, but making the conscious decision to move forward to better ones health can be life changing.
Here are some pointers to forgiving someone. (Derived from the Prepare and Enrich Couples Manual)
- Acknowledge your pain and anger. Allow yourself to feel disrespected
- Be specific about future expectations and limits
- Give up your right to “ Get Even” but insist on being treated better in the future
- Let Go of blame, resentment, and negativity
- Communicate your forgiveness
- Work toward reconciliation
In implementing these pointers it is important to keep in mind that this is a process. Allow yourself time to make mistakes in the process of forgiveness. Not placing high expectations on yourself and the transgressor will also eliminate any unwanted negative feelings associated with the forgiveness. If forgiveness continues to be a struggle consider seeking assistance with a counselor who is able to guide you on the path towards forgiveness. The sooner you are able to forgive someone the sooner you are able to start letting go of the past and looking forward to what the future may hold and most importantly taking charge of your life. Remember Forgiveness is for you.