What It Really Means to Forgive Yourself Or Someone Else

The ideal and honorable thing to do has always been to forgive. It has always been lauded how freeing it is to forgive not only others but ourselves most especially. As easy as it is to say, it’s not always easy to do. It is extremely difficult when the pain runs deep, and the damage is too great.

Regardless of how difficult it can be, the truth is that there is really no other way to move forward. So you must understand what it means to forgive. Understand what’s stopping you from doing so, and finally how it can be done.

What does it mean to forgive?

Forgiveness can be done or felt differently but in essence, it means you have decided to let go of the feelings of anger, resentment, and even vengeance. Forgiveness is not about forgetting what hurtful thing has been done but being open to negotiation, to understanding the other party, accepting what has happened, learning, and moving forward.

While the act that caused you pain might always be with you, forgiveness can help you start working on lessening its grip on you.

What’s stopping you from forgiving

The other person is not sorry

It can be hard to forgive someone when they are already on their knees apologizing, but it’s even more complicated when that someone is not sorry at all. To see their unaffected ways can even lead to more anger and pain.
This is when you have to turn your focus to yourself. You don’t want that person to continue to mess you up by not forgiving. While you may not have to vocalize your forgiveness to them, especially when they haven’t apologized in the first place, choosing to let go of your anger is the least that you can do, especially for yourself.

Being stuck in your pain can hold you back from a better tomorrow. Anger can cloud your days and hold you back from opportunities tomorrow may bring.

The damage is life-altering

Forgiving someone for a life-altering wrongdoing can seem nearly impossible. When something truly significant happens that changes the course of your life it can shatter your ability to trust people or relationships. Your overwhelming sense of grief can cause confusion, leaving you with a feeling that it’s better to seek revenge than forgiveness.

In these cases, forgiving can seem like a form of surrender or weakness. There is that fear that forgiveness equates to losing control over the one who wronged you, especially if the offender has not shown any remorse or taken responsibility for their actions.

A few examples of life-altering wrongdoings are addiction, infidelity, betrayal, and abuse which can have long-lasting effects on individuals and relationships. Remember that you can still seek justice when you forgive. When a law has been broken, then the punishment must still be served.

Remember that forgiveness doesn’t mean you will forget what happened or allow the offender back into your life. It only means you are open to healing. Willing to free yourself of negative emotions and start moving forward with your life.

The wound is still fresh

Never pressure yourself to say all is forgiven when the wound is still fresh. Some things take time, such as forgiveness. Allow yourself to grieve, acknowledge your pain, and recognize the damage done to you.

Give time for realizations. Give that person the opportunity to see the wrongs they have done. But while you have to wait for wounds to heal, you certainly should not be picking on those wounds by feeding on your anger and resentment.

Again, forgiveness may take time. It is an individual journey. The journey can be experienced differently depending on your effort to heal, learn, and grow from the experience. 

Don’t be afraid to seek therapy or join support groups to help process your emotions and find the strength to forgive.

You are also dealing with your own issues

Sometimes it can be more difficult to forgive because you may be dealing with your own issues without you knowing it. You’re angry and blaming others when in reality you are not just seeing and coming to terms with your own issues.

So how do you identify when you’re actually angry and blaming others or you are just not seeing and coming to terms with your own issues?

  1. When you are complaining about the same issues but with different people then it could be a sign that you aren’t accepting responsibility for your problems. You could be repeatedly engaging in the same kinds of relationships and making the same mistakes.
  1. Recurring issues in your life are also indicators that you are either overlooking or consciously ignoring something that change must also happen within yourself. 

It’s harder to forgive yourself than others

While some people tend to blame others for their own personal issues, others find it more difficult to forgive oneself. For some, it may be because the wrong that has happened is something they themselves could have prevented. They punish themselves with never-ending remorse. 

We can be extra hard on ourselves without us knowing it. Mistakes could shatter self-esteem and pull us down. 

We rely on others’ opinions of us and expect others to redeem us. Without their favorable opinion, we remain stuck and unable to move forward. And you can choose to try and shift their opinions through a committed course of action, or depending on the situation, you can learn to forgive yourself and do better moving forward.

For others, their mistakes become their identity. The mistakes in the past for them have defined who they are when it should really be refining them. And sometimes we choose not to forgive ourselves because we do not wish to change in the first place.

What it truly means to forgive?

Forgiveness is a daunting and challenging task for many reasons. Reasons that hold us back to give it so freely and easily. But forgiveness is supposed to be that way – difficult – so true change can happen. 

Forgiveness will require a lot of willingness to understand, accept what is already done, and hope for better days.

Forgiving someone doesn’t mean your hurt is invalid, it only means you are not going to live your life all about that pain. With forgiveness, relationships are mended and strengthened, hope is given back, and despite setbacks and mistakes, growth becomes possible.