Why Is Forgiving Others So Hard?

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Some things in life are easier said than done, forgiveness is one of those things. We hear stories all the time about people who heroically forgive after someone took the lives of their loved ones, physically hurt them or robbed them of something. Yet when it comes to our turn to forgive someone of something, it is a challenge we can’t seem to overcome.

So why is this?

A big reason we struggle with forgiveness is that we don’t fully understand it.

Forgiveness is about letting go of anger, hurt and pain so we can truly experience freedom and healing in our own lives. This doesn’t mean we are giving the person who caused a pain a free pass. No, their actions still have consequences. Forgiveness also does not mean we forget what happened, get along with someone or let them continue to hurt us.

So what is forgiveness?

Forgiveness is a mental decision we have to make, letting go of whatever emotions we may have.  The letting go aspect of forgiveness is a process that when done too quickly leads us to give inauthentic forgiveness.  Sometimes we think we have to forgive someone right away for hurting us but it actually takes time. Wounds, whether physical or emotional, need time to heal. In order to heal we have to face the pain head-on, working through our emotions. Then, as soon as we have worked through that, we need to forgive.

Our attitude also plays a big role in our ability to forgive.  We have a choice to make. We can continue to build up anger and hurt or we can make a conscious decision to move forward, focusing on the good in our lives. Again, this doesn’t mean you forget the pain and let someone continue to cause you harm. It means letting go of the past and focusing on what is good. Forgiveness is not all about the person who hurt you, it is just as much about you! You need to forgive for yourself.

You might be asking why this is? When we do not forgive, we are refusing to let go of the past and move on. Instead of confronting the pain and working to heal, you are pushing the pain down. But over time that will continue to build and one day, all of that pain will become too much. You may find yourself taking that anger out of someone else. Forgiveness sets you free from the pain, anger, and stress that can come from holding on to it.

We encourage you to reflect on people you may need to forgive. Take some time to really work through the emotions and pain that comes with those memories and then let it go, forgiving the person of what they did. As you begin to practice forgiveness it will become much easier.  

How ToKatie Martin