They said they were sorry, you said you forgave them. But at the back of your mind, you’re not over it. Something won’t give—and now you’re left feeling like crud. Why? Because the essence of forgiveness is freeing yourself from hating someone.
But whether you truly forgive someone—meaning you and the person in question decide to wipe the slate clean—also has to do with that person’s sense of regret and apology. They may not feel an “I’m sorry” is warranted, they may lack empathy to feel your pain, or they may be totally clueless. So waiting and hoping that someday you’ll move on is a bad choice.
So how do you really forgive—and shake the bad feelings once and for all?
1. Set a date: This should be when you are going to officially “move on.” It can be a year anniversary, or whatever time you deem appropriate, but pen it in and stick to it.
2. Make rituals: They are important and help us process emotions. Whether it’s burning a large wooden sculpture in the desert or having a divorce party, do something to commemorate your moving on.
3. Give thanks: Think about all of the things you learned from that person. Your life teachers are ones that teach you things both gently and harshly. Your thanking them for “the lesson,” helps reframe the experience.
4. Read quotes: …Mainly on forgiveness—and find one that can be your mantra. I personally like, “Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names,” John F. Kennedy; and “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude,” Martin Luther King, Jr.
4. See the Blessing: Remember that your being wronged might end up being a blessing in disguise. A friend of mine who is happily married to the love of her life (who is also a billionaire), ran into her ex-boyfriend who had dumped her years ago and thanked him. How’s that for karma?