You can't heal from a negative action with another negative action. This does not mean that you should deny your negative emotions or pretend everything is okay when it really isn’t.
As a matter of fact, to truly move on from a negative emotion, you have to first feel it fully, otherwise, it will keep coming back to hurt you. Once you have felt your anger or hurt fully, you can accept that it has already happened and then you can release it.
Embracing forgiveness and moving forward, however, takes time. Especially when you are hurt by someone you care about. Most of the time we tell ourselves that the person who hurt us does not deserve to be forgiven. The truth is, the longer you tell ourselves this, the longer you kept ourselves trapped in the past.
Holding on to anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge do not only harm relationships, it hurts the individual who holds on to these negative emotions as well. When you don’t open yourself us to forgive, you might bring anger and bitterness into every new relationship and this will begin to hurt your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
No matter how deeply, you’ve been hurt, remind yourself that forgiveness isn’t about whether or not the person who hurt you deserves to be forgiven. It is about releasing yourself from the negative emotion and taking back control of your life.
Negative experiences can shape us into our stronger selves. When you are able to forgive, you stop seeing yourself as a victim. You allow yourself to grow into a more understanding, empathic and compassionate person.
As long as there are relationships, there will be a need for forgiveness. A lot of toxic relationships are born out of the individual’s inability to fully heal from past experiences. Everyone has been hurt in one way or another because everyone in your life is flawed, including you. The important thing is to learn how not to accumulate hurt and pain. The sooner you realize that holding on to a grudge serves no good purpose, the easier it will be to forgive.
Begin to see forgiveness as something you do for yourself. It is a process that takes time, no matter how little or deeply we’ve been hurt. Forgiving is not forgetting, neither is it accepting wrong as right or justifying it. Forgiveness only means that you are ready to go on with your life despite hurtful experiences. The following steps might help you move on.
• Express your pain and hurt – talk honestly about how you feel to the person who hurt you, especially if you still have a relationship with them. Avoiding a conversation about what hurt you may breed resentment and resentment can breakdown a relationship quickly.
• Ask the person who hurt you why they did what they did be willing to hear them out. Some people will hurt you because they’ve been hurt. It doesn’t excuse their action but it might help you heal your relationship if you understand why it happened. Reflect as deeply as possible on what occurred from his/her standpoint.
• If hurting you was an act of revenge, apologize for hurting them too. There are important lessons to learn in every negative emotion we feel and in every failed relationship. They may be lessons about your own narcissism, thoughtlessness and how we can communicate better.
• Give up your right to hurt your partner for hurting you, but also remember that forgiveness does not mean condoning bad behaviour. It doesn’t mean stay in or return to an abusive situation. It doesn’t even mean offer unconditional love without boundaries or accountability. And most definitely is doesn’t mean denying that your feelings are hurt.
• If you are the one who needs forgiveness, first acknowledge the wrongs you've done and how those wrongs have affected others. Admit it to those you've hurt and ask for forgiveness without making excuses. You can’t force anyone to forgive you, you can only forgive yourself and do well not to repeat past mistakes.