Forgiving Frees You from the Past and Allows You To Move Forward

· September 23, 2016

Forgiveness is one of the best forms of generosity that exists. Forgiving is an almost inevitable part of every relationship that we have. Giving it and asking for it is a liberty, and for this reason it holds great value. Doing so often implies is harder than its alternatives: not looking for or giving it.

There are people who do not forgive because they think that they avoid freeing the other person from guilt by doing so. The fact of the matter is that the person who suffers the most is the one who does not know how to forgive. By not forgiving they keep the pain inside them, turning into a sort of sharp and uncontrolled dagger that can cause enormous and unpredictable.

“He who cannot forgive cannot love.”

-Martin Luther King-

Not knowing how to forgive ties you to anger and resentment, which is why you will likely end up feeding your thoughts with these feelings. Forgiving someone who has hurt you is not easy, so it is necessary to know how to do it so you can free yourself from the past wounds and leave behind any emotional baggage that may weigh you down.

Holding Hands

Wrong ways to perceive forgiveness

There are people who don’t understand forgiveness. They believe that it is a sort of competition that points the finger, awarding a winner and punishing a loser. Forgiveness has nothing to do with the following:

  • Freeing the other person from their actions
  • Giving in
  • Turning the other cheek
  • Pretending that nothing happened
  • Admitting that your anger is not justified
  • Forcing yourself to get along well with someone you feel could hurt you again.

“Only those truly brave spirits know how to forgive. A vile being does not ever forgive because he is not in his nature.”

– Laurence Sterne –

Understand forgiveness as a freedom that heals

However, the fact of the matter is that forgiveness has nothing to do with the list above. Forgiveness has to do with oneself, with feeling good and stopping the punishment from going beyond reflection and learning. Forgiveness is really characterized by:

  • Freeing hard feelings or resentment
  • Healing wounds, getting rid of scars
  • Making the choice to start being in a better mood
  • Helping yourself concentrate your attention on the positive aspects
  • Giving yourself a great opportunity: to start over with a clean slate
  • Freeing yourself: it is your choice, do not forget that you have control of your feelings

Let time do its job

When something hurts, remember that you cannot act on the past and, to the contrary, it is the present and the future that are going to give you the chance to step in: alleviating, healing, and reestablishing

Let your positive energy come to the outside without needing to fight, without needing to put up a hard conflict. Allow your attention to focus on being better, preventing the pain from masking your gratefulness for the rest of the positive things that you can find in your life.

Forgiving and being forgiven are equally liberating

Hands Offering Flowers

Forgiving is a great act of kindness towards oneself and towards others, one that will help you move on and realize that there is nothing as poisonous as feeling bad about yourself. Moreover, the person who receives your forgiveness can learn a great lesson related to humility and human values, which will also change their perspective.

Pain that causes harm is often inevitable. However, you must not give it the power to establish itself in your life because then it will not want to leave. The only person who can control your feelings is you. If you are constantly reliving the pain of what happened, you will be giving the power over to the person who betrayed you.

“We teach forgiveness, but let us also teach not to offend. This would be more efficient.”

-José Ingenieros-

Do not hold on to negative feelings so you can move on

Do not hold on to negative feelings or anger will keep paralyzing you. Anger is just an external sign of the pain, fear, guilt, or frustration that you feel when you are betrayed. While the pain will never go away completely, forgiveness can help you free yourself from anger so that you can feel better.

Although there is no single way to forgive, for some people it simply happens while others have to force themselves and work harder to get it, give it, or integrate it. For example, they may tell themselves things like, “I am going to let this pass and I am not going to invest my hatred, anger, or resentment in this person.”

Remember that things cannot be changed, but you have the power to decide how you respond to the facts. For this, you will have to have a talk with yourself and write down what your inner dialogue tells you. If this is all negative, make an effort to look for positive ways of thinking.

Finally, remember that perfection does not exist. Mistake,s no matter how much we try to turn our backs on them, inevitably exist. What can be changed is what we do with it and how we strengthen our ability so that the damage and pain that this can cause go away from our lives as soon as possible.