It is impossible to have a successful long-term relationship without having the ability to forgive. Even the best relationships suffer from hurts on occasion, and it is necessary to learn to deal with these hurts and to truly forgive your partner before your relationship can continue to grow and thrive. The problem is that many people refuse to forgive because they feel that doing so justifies the wrongdoing. Others will use forgiveness as merely words without truly processing their feelings and letting them go.
In reality, forgiveness is more for you than for anyone else. It doesn’t mean you are justifying a wrong that was done to you. Instead, you are making the decision to understand your feelings and to stop holding it against the person you are with. Forgiveness isn’t a once and done thing. Instead, every time the feelings from the past hurt arise, you must forgive again and refuse to let it interfere with your relationship. After a while, you will achieve true forgiveness.
Forgiveness is more important the larger the hurt you experience. The more you care about someone, the more they can hurt you. It is also more important to forgive these same people because they are the ones you care for most. The reason forgiveness is so vital is that your partner cannot do anything to make up for what they have done to wrong you. Instead, you have to make the decision to let the hurt go and move forward.
How to Truly Forgive
The last thing you want is for all the old hurts to come up every time you look at your partner. My sister, who is a pediatric nurse, gave all of these tips to me, because they have helped their relationships. The only way to prevent this from happening, and from ruining your relationship is to get rid of all of your hurt and related negative feelings. That may seem like an impossible task, but it is possible. Here’s what you need to do:
- Journal your feelings. Take the time to journal everything you feel about the hurt and how it has affected you. This is a necessary step because it forces you to truly think about the process of forgiveness instead of simply forgiving because you think you must. Do not dwell on why the other person acted as they did. You are not a mind reader and dwelling on the reasoning can only cause you more hurt.
- Make a choice to forgive. Once you fully understand your feelings and what exactly you are forgiving the other person for, you have to decide in your mind that you want to forgive. Allow yourself time to make the choice. Your choice is in intellectual one, in that you must realize that you have needed forgiveness from others during your life and that you are willing to do away with the hurt in order to grow closer with your partner.
- Remind yourself that you forgave. Every time you remember the old hurt, remind yourself that you decided to not allow it to cause distance in your relationship. Deal with the decision and dismiss the old feelings of hurt until you have truly achieved lasting forgiveness or your partner.