How Can I Forgive When It Seems Too Hard?

Is a lack of forgiveness holding you back from the life you dream about? When you can’t forgive someone you are holding onto anger, resentments, and hurts from the past.

Sometimes you are holding onto recent grudges. Your boss criticized you in front of everyone. Your romantic partner forgot your birthday. Other times you are holding onto hurts from childhood. A teacher embarrassed you. Your mother slapped you.

A lack of forgiveness is always about the past. Letting go of the past is the key to the life you dream about.

What is forgiveness?

Forgiveness is the act of letting go of grudges and resentments. Some people think if you forgive someone, you are saying that it was okay for them to hurt you and you are letting them off the hook.

You are not excusing the hurt. When you forgive you are not minimizing or denying the act. When you forgive you are letting go of the painful feelings, not the memory.

Benefits of forgiving

According to an article on the Mayo Clinic website, forgiveness can bring you peace so you can move forward in your life. You become more open to kindness, compassion, and empathy. The article goes on to say, forgiveness leads to:

  • Healthier relationships
  • Psychological well being
  • Less stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower risk of substance abuse

Mark Victor Hansen, the Chicken Soup for the Soul guy, tells us that “ Lack of forgiveness causes almost all of our self sabotaging behavior.”

What if I can’t let go?

So, you decide to forgive, but no matter how hard you try those feelings of resentment, bitterness, and even hate, just won’t go away. Sometimes you feel justified in holding on to the hurt.

You may believe that if you hold on to the hurt you are making them pay. But, who is really hurt by a lack of forgiveness?

How can I forgive when it seems too hard?

Forgiveness is more than making a decision to let go of a hurt. Forgiveness is the act of letting go. To forgive you must first release emotions from the past stored in your body.

Start by making a list of the people who have hurt you. Pick one person and one hurt. Use the poetry of emotion process to release the painful emotion. This may take several sessions. Persevere until remembering the event no longer causes you any pain.

Now, look at the memory without the painful emotions. What has changed for you? Can you see the memory from the other person’s point of view? What did you learn about yourself? What actions will you take based on this new information?

Forgiveness is not an easy path but the rewards are high.

Are you ready to forgive?

To read more…

Image: mosoltysik @ Flickr

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Barbara November 10, 2012, 12:26 pm

    I like your definition of forgiveness.!


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