Forgiveness is not always easy to achieve but it is a relatively simple concept. To forgive is to let the person off the hook for what they did and let it go. When you catch a fish and bring it into the boat you have a couple of options. You can keep it or you can throw it back. Now, when you throw a fish back after catching it, do you leave the hook in it’s mouth with your fishing line still attached? Of course not, you take the hook out and set it free. There are no attachments to that fish any longer. Forgiveness should work just like that. When you get to a place where you are able to forgive a person for what they did (Read my post on when to forgive here if you haven’t yet) you need to completely let go of any anger, resentment, hurt, pain or any other negative feelings towards that person because of their actions. This does not mean that you are best friends with them and hang out everyday, just because you forgave them does not mean you have to trust them again in your life. Don’t feel guilty if that relationship needs to drastically change from what it was. The important thing is that you need to protect yourself from them while moving on from the situation.
Depending on what you are forgiving someone for you may be able to continue to stay connected with them or you may need to completely sever all ties with them and not have them in your life any longer. I think that’s where some people get a little confused regarding forgiving is that they think they automatically need to be best friends with the person if they forgive them so they choose not to forgive. That is far from the truth! Forgiving them sets you free from the pain of holding on to the hurt but it does not mean you have to have them in your life in any capacity. So forgive them and depending on what happened you can feel free to not have any connections to them in life or you can continue at whatever level of connection you feel safe with. I can’t stress that enough, forgiving does not mean forgetting, it means letting go of the hurt and moving on. You don’t have to trust them anymore and you should not feel any guilt about that!!
Forgiveness can definitely be a process and sometimes you have to work through steps to get to it. You might have to overcome anger at the situation, you might have to overcome the lie that it was your fault in the first place and come to the realization that it was not your fault. I cannot speak for the situation you are going through but you know where you are and what you are dealing with. What I want to make sure I get clear is that forgiving that person will help you achieve the balance you are seeking and let that situation stop hurting you. Forgiving will help you overcome those people and situations and take that weight off your shoulders. Take the steps you need to take to be able to forgive them and care for yourself enough to go through the process. Don’t let them have power over you any longer and make sure you figure out what to do in the future with that relationship to keep yourself safe and happy. You got this, you can overcome anything and come out the other side a stronger more well rounded person! I think I am going to continue on this theme of forgiveness and write about how we can maintain forgiveness over the long term in my next post so stay tuned and if you like this series make sure you share it!