We’ve all been told to “forgive and forget” at some point, but in all honestly, it’s easier said than done. But really, what does it mean to forgive and forget? Does it mean you no longer have any built-up resentment toward someone who hurt you? Does it mean you can go on with your life without ever thinking about what happened again? Forgiving and forgetting can be a difficult thing to do, but understanding what it really means is a key step to achieving true, authentic forgiveness and moving on.
When it feels like someone has betrayed you and done something that may seem unforgivable, it can be extra tricky to forgive and forget, but guess what? According to coaching experts, it is possible. Hard, yes, but possible all the same.
So how do you forgive someone who has hurt you? How do you forgive the betrayal if you can’t forget the heartache?
According to Mahatma Gandhi wrote “Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong,”. Probably because forgiving is hard work, especially when some deeds don’t seem worthy of forgiveness. But the difficult work is worth it
And what about forgetting… David Teachout, a mental health professional, says: “Forgetting is an aspect of biology, forgiveness arises out of will.”
However, with decades of research from the field of positive psychology has found forgiveness can improve depression, anxiety and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
But willing forgiveness is not an easy feat.
Today we share with you how to move beyond the pain and mistrust to give yourself permission to forgive.
How to Forgive and Forget!
Forgiveness is not about the other person
Forgiving someone is not about ‘letting them off the hook.’ Forgiveness doesn’t mean you pardon or excuse the other person’s actions. And it definitely doesn’t mean you should forget the incident ever happened. It’s about gifting yourself the space to let go of the pain and the anguish for your personal peace and benefit, not theirs.
Remember, we’re all human
As Marie Forleo says: “No matter how good your intentions, you can pretty much guarantee that at some point or another, you’ll hurt those you love.”
And in the same vein, they’ll hurt you. We’re complex beings, us humans. We need to remember that. We need to remember that we too make mistakes and need to be forgiven. A grudge over time can wedge a canyon the size of the Grand Canyon between you and another person if you’re not open to honouring each other’s humanness and letting it go.
Forgiveness brings happiness
Forgiveness puts the final seal on what happened that hurt you. You will no doubt still remember what happened, but you will no longer be bound by it. Studies indicate that forgiveness brings happiness, suggesting that people’s physical, mental, relational and even spiritual health vastly improves.
After exploring what it really means to forgive, you can now decide if you are ready and willing to do this. Find some quiet time to be alone with your thoughts and follow these four steps:
Think about the incident that irritated you.
Accept that it happened. Accept how you felt about it and how it made you react.
Acknowledge the growth you experienced as a result of what happened.
What did it make you learn about yourself? What did you learn about your needs and boundaries?
Now think about the other person.
He or she is flawed because all human beings are flawed. When you were hurt, the other person was trying to have a need met. What do you think this need was and why did the person go about it in such a hurtful way?
Finally, decide whether or not you want to forgive the person.
Are you ready to let go, not for them, but for you?
Forgiveness is an enormous subject. Most of us spend our entire lives trying to embrace and embody this virtue.
How has forgiving and forgetting worked for you?
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Articles written by our internal Daily Guru writers, who are certified & qualified growth & development professionals.