This is a common phrase I heard amongst many past clients who struggled to come to terms with their pain and the person(s) who caused it. Forgiveness is not for those who wronged you, but for your own peace of mind. YOU deserve to be free of emotional stress and after experiencing the hurt, you owe it to yourself!
I know what you’re thinking – “How will forgiving those who have wronged me put me at peace?”
1. You take back your power: Once you forgive, the person who hurt you no longer has your power. The power to control your thoughts, feelings and behaviors becomes null and void. When you assert your power, you prevent further destruction to your heart.
2. You begin to master and practice emotional regulation: You find yourself being more conscious and understanding of the emotions you feel towards this person. From there, you are able to reframe the negative thoughts you have; thus ending the emotional stress that you once held and improving the quality of your life and existing relationships.
3. You take responsibility for your actions: Hurt people, hurt people. When you hold on to pain, you unconsciously perpetuate it. When you take responsibility for your response to hurt, you begin to realize that forgiveness is not a pass or a condoning of wrongdoing, but an opportunity to learn and grow. You not only free yourself of bitterness, but you also lessen the possibility of passing that hurt on to others.
Remember it is healthy and normal to feel upset/angry when others hurt us. Embrace and work though those feelings, just don’t hold on to them. We will never be able to control the hurt that comes to us in life. However, we do have control over what we elect to do with that hurt. We can become bitter or we can become better. Forgiveness is the determining factor between these two paths. Keep in mind, there is a purpose in every struggle. The purpose is you. Try to identify what you can learn from your pain, and let forgiveness be your guiding force. YOU deserve it!
Written by Brianna Colbert, MA, LLPC.