You Don’t HAVE To Forgive The Person Who Hurt You

Have you ever been told you “have to forgive” to heal? How did you deal with it? 

Let’s talk about forgiveness. It’s a word that often gets thrown around like confetti at a party, symbolising celebration, joy, and letting go. However, when it comes to healing from a toxic relationship, forgiveness can feel more like a bucket of cold water – shocking, uncomfortable, and downright difficult to endure. While forgiveness is often seen as a noble and liberating act, in the context of a toxic relationship, it can be incredibly challenging. It requires us to confront painful memories, process deep-seated emotions, and find compassion for someone who may have caused significant harm. It’s not just about saying “I forgive you” and moving on; it’s about genuinely working through the hurt and finding a way to let go of resentment. This process can be long and arduous, often feeling more like a harsh jolt to the system than a gentle release. Nonetheless, true forgiveness, though difficult, is essential for personal healing and reclaiming one’s peace and well-being.

Healing from any type of abuse is a personal journey and shouldn’t be rushed. Imagine someone telling you to “get over it” after losing a toe. This highlights the absurdity of expecting someone to simply move on from abuse. Healing has no set path. Do what helps you release negative emotions, whether it’s working with a Coach or therapist,  expressing anger through screaming or writing, or releasing tension through dance. It’s your journey, and you get to decide how to heal. Don’t let anyone pressure you into specific methods or timelines. 

Forgiveness isn’t a magic cure or a quick solution, but a personal choice. It doesn’t erase the hurt or guarantee a happy ending. You don’t have to forgive someone to move on. It’s a personal decision, and you shouldn’t feel pressured to do it before you’re ready. 

While forgiveness isn’t a requirement for healing, it can eventually have positive effects. Forgiveness can lead to personal strength and wisdom. It allows you to build healthier relationships in the future. 

Forgiveness is about releasing anger and resentment, not forgetting what happened or condoning someone’s actions. Forgiveness is a choice you make for yourself, not for the other person. It allows you to move forward without being weighed down by negativity brought upon you by someone else.  Forgiveness is a process which forces you to be patient with yourself. Healing and forgiveness take time, especially for major abuse and it doesn’t mean trusting or getting close to the person who hurt you again. It simply means letting go of the negative emotions for your own sake. Negative emotions stored in our bodies can have detrimental effects.

Studies suggest that forgiveness can lead to better mental and physical health by reducing depression, anxiety, and anger. By understanding these concepts, you can approach healing and forgiveness on your own terms, focusing on your well-being and a healthier future.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but here are some steps that can help:

1. Acknowledge Your Feelings: Don’t Bottle Them Up:

This is the first step to dealing with any situation that evokes emotions.  Instead of ignoring or pushing down how you feel, identify your emotions. Are you angry, hurt, frustrated, or something else?  Give yourself permission to feel what you feel.  You can name it to yourself, journal about it, or talk to someone you trust.

Why it’s important: Bottling up emotions can lead to bigger problems down the line, like stress, anxiety, or even physical illness.  Acknowledging them allows you to process them in a healthy way.

2. Consider the Other Person’s Perspective (Without Excusing Their Behaviour):

As yucky as it may feel, try to see things from the other person’s point of view. What might be motivating their actions?  Were they having a bad day?  Do they have a different perspective on the situation?   This doesn’t mean you have to agree with them, but understanding their perspective can help you communicate more effectively. 

Why it’s important: Sometimes, understanding the “why” behind someone’s behaviour can help you detach from negativity and focus on finding a solution. It can also help you decide how much weight to give their actions. 

3. Practice Self-Compassion: Be Kind to Yourself Throughout This Process:

This is about treating yourself with understanding and care.  Difficult situations can be emotionally draining, so it’s important to be patient with yourself.  Remind yourself that you’re worthy and capable of working through this.

Why it’s important:  Self-compassion allows you to stay calm and centred during challenging times. It prevents negative self-talk that can make things worse. 

4. Seek Support: Talk to a Therapist, Coach, or Trusted Friend:

Sometimes, you need help processing your emotions and navigating a situation. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a therapist, coach, or a trusted friend for support. Why it’s important: Talking to someone objective can offer valuable perspective and guidance. They can also be a sounding board as you work through your feelings.

By following the above steps, you can deal with difficult situations in a healthier and more constructive way.

Forgiveness is a powerful tool for healing from emotional pain and moving forward with your life. It’s a journey, not a destination, so be patient with yourself.

Need help with forgiveness or healing? I am always here to help and you can book a 30 minute clarity call with me anytime.