October 17, 2022

How to Forgive Someone Who Has Wronged You

Written by Jackie Zucker

forgiveness letter template in writingAre you holding on to the wrongs people have done to you in the past?

In this therapist-approved post, we’re going to cover what forgiveness is and how to forgive others so you can finally have peace of mind.

When it comes to the topic of forgiveness, we often hear about how important it is and how beneficial it can be. We’ll hear many myths and certain ideas about what forgiveness really is such as “Forgive and forget”, “Turn the other cheek”, “Let bygones be bygones”, and ”Kiss and makeup”.

As a result, we have all grown up with certain ideas about what forgiveness really is.

What Forgiveness Really Is

It sounds so simple, but when you experience betrayal or hurt at someone’s hands, it doesn’t feel easy to forgive. It feels impossible, unfair, and hurtful.

  • But what if you cannot find the strength to forgive another?
  • How do you let go of that anger and resentment?

This is where the process gets a little more difficult and personal. Forgiveness does not come naturally for everyone; some people need help finding that strength again.

This article will help you understand why forgiving someone isn’t always easy but is worth it in the end.

Why Forgiving Someone Doesn’t Feel Easy

Forgiveness is a very conscious decision. It comes from a place of conscious and deliberate choice where we are aware of our feelings and thoughts. When we are in this state of choosing, it feels like a process because it is. It’s almost like you have to tell yourself to forgive when it feels like the opposite.

Forgiveness is not something that happens immediately or is a natural response to the situation.

When someone hurts us, we tend to feel things like anger, bitterness, and resentment. We might not even recognize these feelings as a response to the situation until we are so consumed by them that we can’t move on with our lives.

black woman hand on head How to Forgive Someone Who Wronged You

Understanding the Why Behind the Wrong

It is important to understand the why behind the wrong done to you. You need to know what happened and all the details of the situation, so you can understand both the person who hurt you and your own reaction to it.

If you want to forgive, you need to make a conscious decision to do so. You might even want to write out your feelings about the situation and how you want to respond to it.

The Process of Forgiveness Might Look Like This:

#1) Let Go of the Anger and Resentment

Once you are ready to forgive, start by letting go of the anger and resentment you feel. If you are having a hard time letting go of your feelings, you might need to talk things out with a therapist or a trusted friend.

Letting go of these feelings will help you move on with your life and heal.

If you are ready to forgive, you might want to let the person you feel wronged by know. While this isn’t a necessary part of the process, it can help you feel empowered and in control of your feelings and emotions.

#2) Evaluate the Need to Forgive Yourself

Finally, sometimes we need to forgive ourselves for a situation. We might blame ourselves for what happened or feel guilty for not being able to forgive the person who hurt us.

You are allowed to forgive yourself, too.

#3) The Benefits of Letting Go and Forgiving

Holding onto the anger, bitterness, and resentment you feel about what happened can stay stuck in your system, keeping you stuck. Letting go of these feelings will help you move past what happened and move on with your life.

If you are holding onto these feelings, you are not allowing yourself to heal from the situation. As hard as it might be, if you want to fully heal, you have to forgive.

Feeling Hurt and Betrayed Feelings are Valid How to Forgive Someone Who Wronged You

How Guilt Comes Into Play

Guilt is often the result of feeling responsible for what happened. If you feel guilty, you are holding onto feelings of anger and resentment. Letting go of these feelings will help you let go of the guilt.

When you hold onto feelings of bitterness, resentment, and anger, it can be hard to have self-love and self-worth. Are you holding on to the wrongs people have done to you?

How to Deal with Your Feelings

Journaling

Journaling is an excellent way to get all your feelings out. By writing down what happened and how you felt about it, you can start to see a pattern in your emotions and thoughts.

When you start to see a pattern in your thoughts and feelings, it will help you understand why you want to forgive in the first place.

Try using this Forgiveness Letter Template as a resource to help get you started.

Meditation

Meditation is a wonderful way to feel more in control of your thoughts and feelings. It is a great way to help you release the energy you are holding onto and bring some peace back into your life.

In whatever way you feel comfortable, you might want to talk about what happened and why you want to forgive. Maybe you want to talk with the person who hurt you or a trusted friend or therapist.

Focus on the Positive

Focus on the positive aspects of the situation.

Maybe the hurtful situation brought you closer to a friend or family member. It might have helped you grow as a person by helping you understand the situation from another person’s point of view.

Person letting go of feelings by water How to Forgive Someone Who Wronged You

How to Forgive Yourself Using Self-Care

It might take you a while to get through all the steps of forgiveness. That’s okay. If you find yourself getting stuck or you feel like you are not making any progress, take a break.

It is important to have time to yourself to decompress and get back on track. This will help you find your inner peace and quiet the thoughts in your head, which can help you get through the forgiveness process.

Find other ways to release your feelings. If you find that you get stuck and can’t move on with your feelings, try other ways to release your emotions:

  • Exercising
  • Listening to music, or even
  • Coloring are all great ways to let your feelings out.

Don’t forget to take care of yourself, as it is such an important part of self-care, but it often gets forgotten in the midst of our busy lives.

Are You Feeling Resentment?

Forgiving someone for doing wrong to you is important, especially when it is the person that was closest to you.

It is especially important when that person has caused you to lose a lot of yourself during the time they did those things to you.

However, it can be hard to let go of everything they did if they don’t talk about it or seem to have any remorse. You might find yourself still holding onto their actions or feeling resentment towards them.

Two female friends hugging and forgiving each other How to Forgive Someone Who Wronged You

If You Struggle with Resentment, Remember These Steps:

#1. Ask Yourself Why Are You Holding On To The Actions of This Person?

  • Are there certain actions or thoughts that cause you more pain than others?
  • Are there any specific actions that hurt your most?

If so, write them down and try to pinpoint exactly why it hurts so much for you at that moment.

This can help give clarity and show what areas in your life are most affected by their words or actions toward you in order for you to move on from being stuck in the past and begin forging ahead in your future.

Then ask yourself if there are any reasons why this person might not apologize or make amends with you yet, such as anger issues or resentment toward another individual (such as a spouse).

Put yourself in their shoes for a moment and think about how hurtful it would be if there were something holding them back from truly making amends with you. Be compassionate about that, and allow yourself to let go of the resentment you may be holding them accountable for.

#2. Ask Yourself “What are the consequences?” 

When you have a clear vision of why you need to forgive this person, ask yourself what the consequences are if you continue to hold onto the hurtful actions towards yourself.

This is where your mind plays tricks on you and makes it seem like it’s so much better to hold onto the hurt, even though you know there are no benefits for it at all.

Essentially, think about how this person’s actions toward you will affect your life moving forward if you continue to hold onto your resentment toward them, such as having difficulty being happy in your life as a result of thinking more and more about their past actions toward you.

Then, on the other hand, think about how forgiving them will release any negative energy in your life by not having those negative thoughts and feelings attached to those situations anymore.

What can that do for your overall well-being?

#3. When Forgiveness Still Seems Impossible, Start Gradually Releasing Resentment

If this sounds like a good idea but forgiving this particular person still seems impossible due to their particular action(s), then make today your first day towards gradually releasing that resentment from yourself so that forgiveness can begin in small ways each day until it can eventually become something deeper between both of you after enough time has passed.

For example, maybe it would help if they could ask for forgiveness from one or maybe two people who were affected by their actions first or say something kind or appropriate about the situation, or even come to understand the psychological issues or past events that may have led them to do what they did.

So, be open to forgiving them in your own way, which may not look like someone else’s.

Man texting his therapist for appointment How to Forgive Someone Who Wronged You

Next Steps

Forgiveness is a long and often difficult journey, but it is one that can make you a stronger and more empowered in the end. It might not come easily, and you might have to try a few different things to find what works best for you, but it is worth it.

Forgiveness will help you feel less burdened by the past and more empowered to live your best life. It is something that is important to do not only for yourself but for others who are affected by your actions.

If you are looking for help as your work on forgiving someone who has wronged you, consider calling or texting Eddins Counseling Group to find a professional therapist to walk beside you in your journey of forgiveness.

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