Forgiveness isn’t about letting go of something that hurt you, it’s about giving yourself permission to move on and thrive.
There are so many rites of passage we take as we get older and become adults. There are parties and celebrations, getting your driver’s license, and getting your first job. But there’s one rite of passage that no one really talks about, and is absolutely necessary to prepare you for adulthood: learning to forgive.
As you venture out into this world, there will be times that people hurt you. Or, even times that you might feel like you held yourself back. And if you can’t master the art of forgiveness, resentment, guilt, and shame will hold you back from reaching your fullest potential.
That’s why learning to forgive is a necessary skill. Consider this your next rite of passage. Learning to forgive others and yourself will allow you to manage hurdles, bumps, and bruises that are bound to happen.
Why Should I Forgive Someone?
When things happen to you, it can be easy to feel like a victim in someone else’s movie. But living life from a place of victimhood does not provide a lot of opportunities for you to have high self-esteem.
Instead of looking at events as someone intentionally doing something to you, consider how their action was not about you at all. It was about them and how they view themselves. Every action we take in the world is a projection of ourselves. When we are sad, we may lash out at others unintentionally. When we are scared, we may keep others at an arm’s length.
Having the ability to separate the action from the person doing the action is a profound skill. And when you can separate the action from the person, it is much easier to understand… and forgive.
Similar to forgiving others, it is equally, if not more important, to learn how to forgive yourself. No one is perfect, and there will be times that you’ll feel like you failed. It’s important in these moments to practice forgiving yourself. Maybe you’ll look back on something you did in the past…such as not trying your absolute best during the basketball tryouts, or not spending as much time on a school test, and you’ll feel regret.
But forgiving yourself means giving yourself grace. Knowing that in the moment, you did the best that you could (and really and truly mean it!). One setback or one bump in the road is just that; it is one instance. It has nothing to do with your future ability or potential. And when you give yourself grace, you’ll bounce back from setbacks.
How Do I Forgive Someone?
Now that you understand why forgiving someone (and yourself!) is so important, let’s talk about how to forgive someone. When you start to notice that your inner voice is focused on a grudge or resentment, or past hurt, this is the opportunity to shift your thinking.
First, acknowledge how the event made you feel. Say it out loud! Write it down if you have to! Feel how empowering it is to get your feelings out.
But don’t dwell on these feelings for long.
Second, commit to letting them go and moving forward with your life. It doesn’t mean that you have to forget they happened, but you actively choose to not let them run your life anymore.
The more you practice forgiveness to yourself and to others, the better you’ll feel. And the better you’ll be able to adapt to any circumstance life throws your way.