When you are hurt by someone you love and trust, this can cause you to become angry, confused or sad. If you dwell on hurtful situations and events, grudges filled with resentment, hostility and vengeance can take root. If you allow negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice. By embracing forgiveness, you can embrace peace, gratitude, joy and hope. Consider how forgiveness can lead you down the path of emotional, physical, and spiritual well being.

Generally, forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. The act of hurt or offense might always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, positive part of your life. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of empathy, compassion and understanding for the one who hurt you.

If you are unforgiving, you might pay the price repeatedly by bringing bitterness and anger into every relationship and new experience. Your life might become so wrapped up in the wrong that was done you can not enjoy the present. You might become anxious or depressed. You might feel that your life lacks meaning or purpose, or that you are at odds with your spiritual beliefs. You might loose valuable and enriching connectedness with others.

Getting another person to change his or her actions, behavior or words is not the point of forgiveness. Think of forgiveness more about how it can change your life, by bringing you happiness, emotional and spiritual healing and peace. Forgiveness can take away the power the other person continues to exert in your life.

The first step to overcoming forgiveness is to honesty assess and acknowledge the wrongs that you have done and how those wrongs have affected others. At the same time, avoid judging yourself too harshly. You are human, and you will make mistakes. If you are truly sorry for something you said or did, consider admitting it to those you have harmed.

Forgiveness is a commitment to a process of change. To begin, you might:

  • Consider the value of forgiveness and its importance in your life at a given time
  • Reflect on the facts of the situation, how you have reached to this point, and how this combination has affected your life, well being and health
  • Move away from your role as victim and release the power and control the offending person and situation has had in your life
  • When you are ready, actively choose to forgive the person who offended you

When you have reached the state of forgiveness, being near the person who hurt you, this may bring feelings of stress and tense muscles. When handling these situations, consider that you can choose to attend or can avoid specific functions and gatherings. Respect yourself and do what seems best. If you choose to attend, do not be surprised by a certain amount of awkwardness and perhaps even more intense feelings. Do your best to keep an open mind and heart. You might find that the experience helps you to forgive as you move forward.