Have you ever been cheated on? Has a friend ever betrayed you? Has someone ever spread false rumors about you? No matter the weapon used to slice away at your heart, the pain is difficult to deal with. You ultimately lose a gigantic piece of who you are. The once confident and trusting person that existed is replaced almost overnight. It’s like a giant eraser has wiped away your confidence and the person remaining is an individual with no ability to trust without suspicion.
After a period of time has passed and 3 or 4 buckets of tears have been expelled, you decide to reconcile with that person. And then you say the most loaded words ever uttered in a relationship:
“I forgive you.”
For the average person “I forgive you” only means that the two of you low-key acknowledge that the infraction isn’t big enough to destroy the relationship. It’s basically the equivalent of selling yourself out to get a piece of that relationship comfort back. You end up devaluing your feelings just for the familiarity of what that relationship used to give you. It isn’t right but that is the state of the average relationship. Fake as fake as fake…..
And then there are the people that truly forgive (or really want to).
While acknowledging their own tolerance for pain and what is healthy for themselves, they attack the issue head on. The damage to their heart is placed in clear view for the other party to see. They don’t run from the pain at all. They run to it. In this moment they become masters of communication. They speak about how and why they were hurt. They clearly outline the penalties for the next infraction. But on that same note, they are kind and sensitive to growth. They recognize that compromise isn’t built on the destruction of the individual; themselves or the other person. You can’t have a relationship with one person. Instead, the painful deed is placed within the healthy confines of memory and instead of being constantly brought up to substantiate unrelated arguments, is tucked away only as a frame of reference for a repeated infraction. That’s as close to true forgiveness one can hope to honestly attain.
So how do you forgive? How do you reach this point of total badassness in yourself? How can you wield this power to totally change your life, relationship and general interaction with the people around you? Here are 5 Ways to Learn How to Forgive:
1. Be Honest with Yourself: People lie to themselves 100 times per day. But on this subject, you need to be brutally honest with yourself. Can you really forgive? If you’re sitting in the same room as the person that hurt you and all you can do is hate them, it’s safe to say that you don’t possess the capacity to forgive that person. You have to be honest with what is doable and what isn’t. And hey, let’s face it. Some infractions damage more than others. If you can’t forgive someone for a wrong, that’s okay too. At least you’re being honest with yourself about it. And transferring that honesty into self-discipline can save you and that other person a lot of pain.
2. Take Your Time: Before you even utter those “I forgive you” words, take some time and analyze yourself. How hurt are you? If he cheated on you, how do you feel about knowing that he literally put your life at risk? If he lied to you, how do you feel about the impact of that lie? How do you feel about that fact that after the first lie, the probability of the next lie shoots up exponentially? If you don’t take time to think about yourself during this moment you are truly hurting yourself. No one is in a perfect relationship. But when you’ve been wrong, you need time to figure things out. Don’t let the “Baby I’m sorry” phone calls or million text messages move you away from what you need; time for yourself.
3. Seek Advice from Worthy Sources: No, we’re not talking about your best friend. We’re talking about an individual that is neutral in their opinions. Your girlfriend would always take your side and will usually end up calling your boyfriend a dog (or worse). Not to mention, she’s probably struggling to get a grip on it all just like you are. The best advice you can seek is from people who don’t know it. Don’t roll up and hit them with all of your personal business. Be subtle with it. Mix identities and situations. Your elders are an excellent source of advice. Sure, they don’t know Facebook from Instagram but the elders have already made the trip you’re making. And in most cases, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
4. Talk It Out and Never raise the Issue Again: If you’re going to let it go, let it go. Nothing is more annoying than a person that brings up old stuff and uses it as a battle ax for something they’ve been found guilty of. Forgiving means you’ve let it go. And it should only be referenced if the incident resurfaces. You have to be willing to completely wipe the incident from future discussions.
In the immortal words of Smokey from the movie Friday,
“Why you keep bringing up old s***?”
5. Did I Mention, Keep Your Friends Out of It: Sometimes your friends can make a disagreement you’ve had with your lover stretch for months and months. You know how they are:
“Girl, I don’t know how you do it. I’d date someone else if I were you.”
Or they may say,
“You know I hate him ever since he cheated on you. What a jerk!”
All of that extra commentary has a cumulative effect on your relationship. Next thing you know, you’re going home with an attitude even before he’s done anything wrong. It’s my personal opinion that friendships have saved a lot of marriages. But there have been waaaaaaay more relationships destroyed because of friendships than saved. It’s not even close. Some wounds heal better when exposed to open air. But a love wound is internal and should be cared for with as little exposure to the outside as possible.