(Closed) Anyone have advice about learning how to forgive?

posted 8 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 3
5496 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2010

This is absolutely one of the hardest things. I struggle with this with quite a few family members! My stepmom said racially disturbing things about my husband (then boyfriend she hadn’t even met) and she and my dad were not at our wedding (my choice) and I haven’t spoken to them in a few years now. I did speak to my dad last year on the phone a month before the wedding and he defended her!! I STILL can’t forgive. I have lots of anger towards them. I’m sorry I can’t offer any advice, since I struggle with this, too. I’m anxious to see what some Bees suggest!! 🙂  Good luck and I hope you are able to eventually forgive because they say forgiveness helps YOU. It’s for YOUR emotional well-being. But it is way easier said, than done!  🙂

Post # 5
7975 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

Some things I’ve found have helped me:

  • Try to see it from their perspective. Even if their perspective is wrong (like being racist), it can help to understand why they have those views – like if they were taught something from an early age, before they were able to discern for themselves. It doesn’t excuse their behavior, but sometimes it can help to understand the depth of the situation.
  • Write out your frustrations, anger, negative everything, instead of bottling it up inside. Get it out of your head! And then trash (or burn) the paper. 🙂
  • Focus on compartmentalizing your relationship with this person – focus your energy on the good things, and avoid the bad ones, if possible.

Tough to give concrete suggestions without understanding more of the background, but totally understandable in why you wouldn’t post that kind of thing on a public message board!

Post # 6
1160 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

It helps for me to look at things from the other person’s perspective. It seems counterintuitive especially if they are being really heinous. I used to work with this girl who was backstabbing, unprofessional, combative, etc. etc. I had so much anger toward her–even after she finally moved away. When she contacted me a while later, she apologized for her behavior, saying she had been depressed and angry with her life. Of course, it helped that she had the self-awareness to examine her actions and apologize, but it helped to see why she had acted the way she did, and helped me to forgive her for my own sake.

Post # 7
3709 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

For me, the thing that I have learned is that continuing to deal with someone and forgiving someone means two different things to me. Forgiving someone is what allows ME to continue to go about my life without wasting precious energy continuing to be angry over things I can’t change, and sometimes the other person isn’t even sorry for. It’s not really about them and what they need…it’s about me healing for myself.

This doesn’t mean that you continue to have a relationship with the people who have hurt you. It doesn’t mean that you give them another chance or even wipe the slate clean. The best lesson that I have learned over the years is that while you can’t choose your family, you CAN decide when, how, and how much you deal with them. Just because a person is my family, it doesn’t mean they have the right to disrespect me, lie on me, or cheat me. It doesn’t mean that my feelings and needs should be disregarded. 

The best advice I can give is not to force it. If you need to be able to talk to the person and get it all out before you can forgive, do that. If you need some distance between yourself and the other person, do that. Recognizing that the forgiveness is for you and your peace of mind and is not absolving the other person of blame or guilt makes it a little easier. Also recognizing that your relationship with that person may not be the same, or may not be at all, and that’s OK, is also important.

I wrote a novel…but I hope it helps

Post # 11
2288 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2010

When I had a massive falling out with someone, I obsessed over it for months. Finally, it occurred to me that maybe she didn’t know exactly why I was so pissed at her, so I wrote her a very long letter and sent it to her. I felt a zillion times better and from there I was able to forgive her. We still don’t talk and I really don’t have an interest in doing so, but I’m no longer squeemish at the thought of seeing her again.

ETA: I don’t know if this will work for you because it’s family, but it could be very beneficial to really sit down and hash out what happened and get everything out in the open in a respectful manner. It’s scary, but it feels great.

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