Have you ever had to write that text saying how you forgive someone or how you forgive the situation they put you in?
Have you found yourself forgiving someone before you felt ready to forgive?
You’re not alone. There is not a single path down the road to forgiving others or even yourself. I want to give you some insight on some things I’ve learned on my journey to forgive others. As a disclaimer, it is important to remember my experience is different from everyone else's.
As a child, you may have been taught when someone says “I’m sorry” or “I apologize” you say, “it’s okay”, but the phrase “it’s okay” does not always have to mean I forgive you. Forgiving someone can take hours, weeks, months-- even years. Forgiving is a process and you should never feel rushed during this process because overall it is a time of self-growth.
Oftentimes we feel obligated to forgive someone for something they have done to avoid awkward encounters or even feel pressured due to social standards. When we forgive without processing we can come up with excuses to sweep our feelings under the rug. Some of these can include: “Maybe I’m overreacting or over exaggerating” or even, “It wasn't that bad”, “I don’t want them to be mad at me”.
Sound familiar? Even I myself have experienced of all of these
When we sweep our emotions under the rug, we don’t allow ourselves to take care of how we feel in the best way for the sake of our mental health. Allowing yourself to find rest in how you feel is key. At times we just put our mental health on a checklist and as more items are placed on that list, taking times for your emotions is placed lower and lower on that list.
Forgiving others may take some time. Here are a few tools you can utilize as you work through the process of forgiveness
- Write down how you feel and potentially why you feel this way.
- Write a letter to that person and keep it for yourself or send it when you’re ready.
- Meditate, to music, podcasts, scripture, even silence alone.
Lastly, pray for your enemies. Forgiving takes time but through prayer, we can see situations in a new light.
- Romans 12:20
- On the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by doing so you will heap burning coals on his head.”
- Luke 6:35
- “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.”
Just like forgiveness is hard when it comes to others it can be hard to forgive yourself. Blaming yourself can sometimes be a quick solution for why conflict happens in our life. We begin to overthink the situations we are placed in because we are nervous to “mess up again”.
Forgiving yourself takes time and being alone during that time is a nice break from what others have to say about a situation. Yes, it is good to process with others to get an outside perspective but being alone with how you feel is also healthy in the process of forgiving.
Do not be afraid to be alone. As nerve-wracking as sitting with your thoughts can be, trust the process of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is a journey and I believe in you.