We hear it all the time we should forgive someone but what is the meaning of forgiveness?
I remember in Sunday school as a child learning that we need to forgive others.
But what does it really mean when they say to forgive someone that has hurt you?
And most importantly, how do we forgive someone?
What exactly is the process and why is it so important?
Growing up it was not explained in detail the why and how we should forgive one and other so in this article, I will be going over the importance of forgiving and how we should do it so you can have a better understanding so you can choose to decide if you will or won’t.
Stick around and let’s learn together, shall we?
Table of Contents
What Is Forgiveness?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes forgiveness as:
“To cease to feel resentment against an enemy“
I know from my own experience that can be hard to take in when someone has done something horrible to you.
And the Cambridge dictionary states that to forgive means to:
“Stop blaming or being angry with someone for something that person has done, or not punish them for something they have done.”
Psychologists typically refer to forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you.
This has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not they deserve forgiveness.
Forgiveness Is A Decision
Based on the definitions through dictionaries and psychologists, I take it that forgiveness is a decision you choose to no longer be the victim
In the Bible, Jesus teaches us to “turn the other cheek“. His last words on the cross were “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”
If Jesus could forgive mankind for nailing him on the cross surely we can forgive each other for the wrongs done to us.
What an example he set for us all.
What Forgiveness Is Not!
It is equally important that we understand what forgiveness is not.
It is very important we understand that when we forgive someone we are not excusing their actions.
We are not making light of what they did or glossing over the severity of how their actions affected us.
Forgiveness does not mean we are forgetting their actions.
While forgiving someone can repair a damaged relationship, we are not obligated to resume a relationship because we have forgiven the person.
And, forgiveness never releases the person from any legal obligation.
The Process Of Forgiveness
Forgiving someone is not merely a one-time event. Like grief, it requires us to go through several stages and we may need to repeat those stages several times in order to ensure lifelong forgiveness.
Sometimes the person we need to forgive is ourselves and usually for something that was out of our control.
A lot of times what gets me angry at the moment is usually something petty.
I have learned to ask myself if this situation or perceived wrong is going to matter in my life five years from now. If the answer is no, I find it is better to just let it go.
If it won’t make a difference to my life in the long wrong then it isn’t worth getting all worked up about.
But there are times when someone really hurts us either physically or emotionally and we tend to hold onto that hurt and pain not realizing that by doing so we are holding ourselves back from so many more good things in life.
It’s like someone put a sandbag on top of you. Don’t just lay there, push it off and away from you. You don’t need that kind of weight on you making it difficult to breathe and focus on other important things.
Acknowledge The Wrong
This part we do pretty much automatically. When someone does something that hurts us or causes us harm we immediately recognize that they hurt us or wronged us in some way.
We feel angry, hurt, frustrated and a whole host of negative emotions.
The need to lash out and get back at them, even the score, get justice is strong.
These are perfectly normal reactions and we have every right to feel these emotions, acting on them could find us in a bigger, messier situation.
The need for revenge often backfires and hurts us more than the intended person.
If your partner cheated on you, you may want to cheat on him to get revenge or even the score. This only allows you to drop to their level and become a cheater yourself, the very thing you don’t like. This can cause a lot of hate within yourself, dragging you further down without realizing it.
It also tells the cheater that it’s ok to cheat which is not what you want.
Desire To Rise Above
How do you feel when you are angry? Is it a pleasant feeling?
I know I don’t like it when I am feeling angry.
Your body tenses, teeth clench, the stomach is knotted and you have an abundance of energy that just wants to lash out at anyone and anything.
Quite frankly it is a scary place to be when you are white-hot with anger.
Through the years I have learned that holding on to anger only hurts me even more.
I have also learned that I can decide to rise above that hurt and anger. We all have to learn to rise above because we are better than that.
I Am No Longer The Victim
When I finally decide I am going to rise above the hurt and anger I feel I also decided to be no longer the victim.
This can give us a feeling of freeness when we decide not to let the things a person did to us affect our future.
The longer I hold onto my anger and refuse to move forward I am essentially holding myself, prisoner, as the victim.
To let go of being the victim means I choose to let go of the negative emotions that are preventing me from moving forward in my life.
Let Go Of Any Negative Feelings
I still want justice, but I am letting go of vengeance.
By letting go of the negative feelings I mean truly letting them go.
No longer will I allow my thoughts to linger on the person or event that caused the pain.
I am not forgetting it, because that isn’t possible. I am just choosing to focus my thoughts elsewhere and in much more productive ways.
By letting go of the negative emotions and thoughts I am rediscovering peace in my soul and that is why I need to forgive those who have wronged me in any way.
We all deserve to live in peace and harbouring anger, fear, and vengeance only robs us of our peace and doesn’t do anything for the person who wronged us.
Choose to grow
It is possible to decide to use the experience as a tool for personal growth.
Whatever the situation you can come away from it would be wiser.
Look for the lessons and you will always find ways to improve yourself, how you handled the situation or how to prevent a similar thing from happening again in the future.
Learning from our own mistakes can help to prevent us from getting hurt in the future. What could we have done differently to help in avoiding it from happening again?
This is where you ensure this person never hurts or wrongs you again.
It could mean maintaining your distance from this person for a while or all together depending on the circumstances.
You figure out what part you played in what happened and don’t put yourself in that situation again.
If a relationship was damaged you can forgive then reach out to show you are prepared to move forward from that point on. If the person rejects your offer you have done what you can. Let it go.
One thing life has taught me is that the people in our lives are here for a season or a reason.
Enjoy them while they are a part of your life and look for the lesson when they are gone.
Set boundaries and don’t let people take advantage of you. It is up to you to let people know what your personal boundaries are.
Don’t let your mind get muddled with negative thinking. Once you have forgiven someone for something leave it in the past.
It serves no purpose to keep bringing it back up to the surface and dwelling on it.
Leave it in the past and move forward with your life.
Forgiveness Affects My Business
Ever heard of the law of attraction?
You can read my article by clicking on the above link to learn everything you need to know about it.
But, simply put, you will receive more of what you focus on.
What does that mean?
If you are continuously focused on the wrong somebody did to you, guess what you will get in life.
You guessed it, more wrongs being done to you.
Now, this may sound crazy sh!t here but it’s true.
And you cant’ move forward if you are dwelling on the past.
If you are running a business…
You know business is competitive, if I want to succeed in business I need to be focused on my goals, focused on moving forward not being held back by some negative thing in the past.
I set daily goals and focus on those and at the end of the day, I set new goals for the next day.
That’s right, I keep my focus forward and things just seem to work out well for me.
If I have a bad day and lose my focus, that is when everything seems to go wrong.
The best thing I ever did was join my husband in our online businesses because now I feel I have a purpose because I am doing what I enjoy doing.
I now am self-employed and make my own living, no more boss for me.
Every day we are working together to build the future we have dreamed about and I get to pursue my passion, which is writing. To be honest I had no idea until my husband introduced me to it by writing a few articles for his site.
Before I realized it I wanted my own site to call my own and I am loving it.
If writing appeals to you check out the training that got us started.
We have discovered what is the meaning of forgiveness.
We have learned that holding onto negative emotions can hold us back in life.
It is important that we learn to forgive in order to continue moving forward in life.
Forgiving someone no way condones their actions, it merely sets you free from being the victim.
The sense of freedom you feel when you forgive someone is profound.
Naturally, you will still want justice but no longer crave revenge.
Practice forgiveness in your own life and discover just how truly freeing it can be.
Have managed to forgive someone in your life?
How did you feel afterwards?
I look forward to reading your thoughts in the comment section below and if writing appeals to you remember to check out the free training. Before long you will be bringing in a tidy little income yourself.