Learn the art of forgiving


Aashkaa Nair

Mental Health Writer

Many of us have experienced pain caused by others. The pain inflicted is deep. It stabs into your heart. It feels as if the heart is breaking into a million pieces.

We all experience such emotions when somebody betrays our trust or when expectations aren't fulfilled or simply when people hurt us. It becomes difficult to concentrate on work and social life. It disrupts our inner world. When we hold on to this emotional turmoil, relationships suffer. It isn't wrong, however, if it prevails for a longer period, can become a major problem.

So how do we free ourselves from this cycle of pain? When life hits us hard, there is nothing as effective as forgiveness for healing deep wounds. We all have our own terminology and reasoning for forgiveness. But we need to realize that forgiveness s the medicine that we need to heal ourselves.

Some may want to forgive, but wonder whether or not they truly can. Some may be forgiving by nature, and while some might just refuse to forgive. Forgiveness doesn't come easily; but is achievable. With time, patience and practice, this pragmatic craft can be imbibed.

Let us try to think of some ways in which we can integrate forgiveness into our lives.

1. Instead of blaming, take ownership of the situation

More often than not, we start assigning responsibility to others for whatever we are experiencing. It becomes easier for us to charge others for our misery. However, this can and should be avoided. If we start taking responsibility of our actions, we give ourselves an opportunity to learn from it.

The blame game provides an excuse to play the victim card. Instead of moving on, it acts like a magnet. It pulls us back to that situation again. If someone or something else is responsible in our mind, then we'll have to wait until they change for us to get better. Instead, we can work on ourselves and try to take control over what we have in hand.

By forgiving the person, we allow ourselves to move forward rather than preventing our own growth. We prevent someone else’s mistake from becoming the sword hanging over our head.

2. Avoid holding grudges

The incident is over. The blame game is over. However, we're still feeling angry and frustrated over the same thing. This might be because we're still holding the resentment.

We might think how illogically the person behaved with us or how they argued unreasonably, so we might conclude our statement with ‘I have the right to be angry when s/he behaves this way!’ This feeling persists because we're unwilling to end that altercation with forgiveness. So when all of the yelling and screaming has gone, the time for calm comes. No storm lasts forever, this is the time to make peace.

3. Don't be judgemental

A great way to ruin relationships is by being judgemental towards others. When we stop judging the situation or the person, we understand different facets of them. By being a mere observer, it is possible to fathom the capriciousness of the situation.

We will find our way to inner peace if we seek it. With this sense of peace, we start extinguishing our resentments and grudges. We might have all the reasons to be judgemental towards the person or the situation; however, finding that one reason to substitute that feeling, would make us a happier and a peaceful person.

4. Accept what happened and move on

‘How could s/he do this to me?’, ‘why me?’. Such questions are bound to enter our mind when we're hurt. However, these past hurts are not a part of our present reality, unless we allow them to be.

We must try to distract ourselves from such thoughts and supplant them with positive ones. It’s important to understand that our association with some people is meant to be for a shorter period and with some for a longer period. Some teach us lessons and some offer their blessings. All of them are necessary. Let’s embrace them, learn from them and move on.

5. Don't let ego barge in

Ego is a destroyer, be it relationships, work, or even oneself, it can come thrashing and break life into a million pieces. If we ever wonder whether or not to forgive, let’s look back. Looking back will help us see what the person(s) meant to us.

Let’s try to remember what the relationship meant to us. Sometimes, we resist to forgive because of our ego. We feel forgiving the other person would make us look smaller. We're scared of being taken for granted. Forgiving someone for something doesn't make us weak or fragile in any way. In fact, it makes us emotionally stronger and less dependent. Hence, whatever our situation might be, we must try to rationally think about it while putting aside our ego.

6. Don't live in the past, focus on the present

The single-most important reason for not being able to forgive is because we're living in the past. We assign a good portion of our time, energy and attention focus on the past mistakes and incidents. ‘That one incident changed everything, I can't live the same way I used to before’, such statements indicate that we're designating a great deal of responsibility and power to the past.

Does a lion ever cry over not getting enough attention? Does it sulk because someone was rude to it? No, it lives in the present as a creation of nature. So let’s practice living in the moment by appreciating and learning from the people around us, rather than trying to make ourselves miserable by living in a prison of our own making.

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Discussion Board

Why do we find it difficult to forgive?

Rohit Chopra
We find it difficult to forgive as it requires a lot of strength. We need not forget or repeat a mistake, but we need to forgive to allow our self to move on.
Sachin Singh
Wow, such a beautiful piece of article. Being a Psychology student I find it very useful. Everything that has been written in this article is wonderful but difficult to implement (of course NOT impossible) Thank you 😊