In a world filled with anger and negativity, learning to forgive those who have wronged you is crucial and beneficial. Saying so isn’t as easy as learning to forgive, though; it’s far too easy to hold onto grudges and want to do anything but forgive someone for what they have done to you. Learning to forgive means understanding forgiveness as a whole; there are many different types of forgiveness, rather than just one, all-encompassing form of forgiveness. If you want to learn to let go, here are four tips on how to do so.
Tell Your Truth
When you forgive someone, you need to do so authentically rather than simply saying the words, “I forgive you.” Only by telling the whole truth will you be able to let go of the most serious of grudges, which in turn requires a serious leap of faith to do so. Know that you could potentially lose the relationship with the other party involved in the situation by speaking your whole truth. On the path to forgiveness, you need to be okay with this as a potential outcome; dishonesty and moving forward are too opposite to do both at the same time.
Acknowledge Your Own Part
Fights and altercations are rarely a one-way street. If you wish to be on the path to reconciliation, you must acknowledge and accept your own part in the situation at hand. Not doing so and opting to play the victim will only lead to self-righteousness that’s damaging instead of healing. What are you guilty of in this instance? Examine your behavior and own up to whatever you’ve done to wrong the other as well.
Many people tend to cut off any notion of compassion toward those who they deem wronged them, and that is a step away from forgiveness, not towards it. Once you start seeing all people deserving of compassion, you stop demonizing them and instead understand their point of view. Everyone is capable of making mistakes, so opening your heart to compassion will open yourself up to forgiveness. Compassion, inner peace and forgiveness are important, and one leads to the other. When you do acts of compassion, you are also helping yourself. Once you have that inner peace, you can start helping others, and when you help others, you continue to make your inner peace stronger. The Dalai Lama says it best, “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
Turn a New Leaf
Some who choose to forgive will do so only if certain conditions are met. They may think, “I will only forgive this person if a certain requirement is met.” If you wish to achieve true forgiveness and move on from the situation, you must be willing to relinquish your control over the outcome of the situation. Surrendering this control will allow both parties in the altercation to turn a new leaf and move on rather than have any bitterness linger.