If you’re a human being you’ve been hurt by the bad behavior of someone you love. No one escapes this painful side of love. It usually shows up in the form of neglect, betrayal or abuse. Most likely, along with the hurt you’ve experienced, you’ve created a story in your mind where you are the victim. If this is the case you haven’t forgiven and probably don’t know how to forgive.
If you’re stuck thinking repeatedly about a past pain it means you are also activating resentment and blame in your mind in the present. This makes you unavailable to fully love anyone new.
You may be asking “How can I forgive someone who has been the source of so much pain for me?”
It is a choice you have to make for yourself and your happiness. You have to get honest with yourself and accept the fact that you too have acted poorly in the past, you too have hurt someone. You have betrayed a trust, crossed a line and you have lied to save yourself.
Do you forgive yourself for your transgressions against others or have you buried them in your mind where you have conveniently forgotten what you’ve done?
Take a moment to look into yourself and why you were cruel. Did something happen to you as child that left you wounded and sad? Do you carry around resentment and feelings of powerlessness? Do you see how your bad behavior had nothing to do with the other person and everything to do with you? You may struggle with how to forgive some one, or maybe you don’t even want to forgive. You have that choice, but if you don’t forgive you are hurting yourself.
How to forgive: It always starts with self-forgiveness
To forgive another person, start with yourself. Own up to your “dark side” (we all have one) that strikes out at others. Know that it says more about you than the person you’re hurting. Now give those who hurt you the same benefit. Acknowledge that whoever wronged you acted from that same dark place and it had very little to do with you. The attack was not personal, although it did have a personal impact on you.
By looking more deeply into your past painful experiences you can gain a special wisdom; you can recognize bad behavior for what it is and heal the wound it created. It will free you to replace resentment with acceptance and anger with love.
Forgiveness will lessen the pain from the past; it may even remove it completely. This is the greatest gift you can give yourself. This is how you can truly move on to experience your present and future with new eyes.