Most people who are struggling to forgive desperately want to feel better. How you feel emotionally about a serious wrong committed against you is not fundamentally under your control.
People do tend to feel better as a result of forgiveness, but it’s a mistake to expect a certain set of feelings. Forgiveness is a commitment, not a feeling.
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Forgiveness is not a decision; it’s an attitude, a habit of mind.
Forgiveness begins with a single decision but it doesn’t end there. Be prepared to continue to forgive, day in and day out. And while it may get easier with time, forgiveness is forever.
No matter how much you want the person who’s wronged you to see the error of their ways, offer a heartfelt apology and restitution, and mend the relationship, you can’t control that.
Don't make forgiveness contingent on reconciliation. Hope for reconciliation if you wish, but don’t expect it.
It’s normal to feel anger towards your offender. But unchecked anger often leads to unhelpful amounts of mental elaboration over the wrongs done to you.
When you notice yourself feeling angry, pause briefly and acknowledge the anger, then ask yourself if your anger will do you any good in the long-term. Just because your anger is justified doesn’t mean it’s helpful.
Cultivate the habit of looking beyond and beneath your most obvious emotions and noticing smaller, quieter ones.
Allow yourself to feel the sadness, regret, and pity for what happened. You may be able to see your offender and offense in a new light and help you to think and act differently.
Acceptance does not mean endorsement or justification. Acceptance means acknowledging that you don’t have power or control over the past.
Accept the offense against you without excusing it. The key to taking control of your future is choosing to let go of the desire to control the past.
It’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever be able to forget a serious wrong committed against you. But it’s a mistake to assume that because your mind is drawn to a specific thought or memory, you should allow your attention to stay there.
Acknowledge your memories but then choose to re-focus your attention elsewhere.
The only time to apologize is when you’re genuinely remorseful.
Avoid any apology that is forced. The person you are apologizing to will pick up on your insincerity, causing further feelings of distrust.