Forgiveness is perceived to be such a complicated concept, but, in reality, it’s one of the most straight forward parts of our lives. All you have to do is let go. Of course, you can do other things to help forgiving be easier, but, in reality, forgiveness only matters if you let go. Letting go is the crucial part of forgiveness. When you’re hurt by someone, there is a wound that is left. Sometimes you hardly realize that there even is an impact. Other times it takes years for the scar to even begin to fade, but, if you ever want that wound to completely heal, you have to let go of whatever caused it. Like I said, forgiveness can be achieved by doing different things, but letting go is the point of it all.
The best way to forgive is to understand what happened. Remove yourself from your personal mentality and open your eyes to other perspectives. Look at the situation through the eyes of the person who hurt you or even a completely unrelated third party. Look at what that person did, look at what you did, look at what was happening around you, look some place that isn’t even visible. Maybe you’ll see something that will change your perspective. Maybe what you see will make it easier to see where that other person was coming from. This all boils down to learning how to understand others.
Be more understanding and sensitive to the situations of others. Don’t be so quick to judge why someone chooses to do something. Instead, understand what they’re background is, what they meant versus what they did, their mindset, their character. You may learn something that reveals they didn’t mean to hurt you or they didn’t mean to make a personal attack against you. It may have been a defense mechanism, a form of tough love, or even a complete accident. It might even be the only way they know how to respond. What if they were dealing with things that didn’t allow them to see the hurt they unintentionally caused you? All of this can help you see the situation for what it was and not how you perceived it the first time.
Just remember that understanding why a person did something doesn’t mean that they’re correct; however, it allows you to learn why they did it in the first place. Not all pain comes from hatred and a desire to be cruel. Some pain comes from pain itself. If you can understand why pain was caused, you can definitely understand how to remedy it. You can understand if the person who hurt you was suffering as well or if they truly meant no harm by what they did. You can understand if you weren’t in the position to look at the situation for what it was, altering your judgment and perception. Either way, understanding can lead to closure, making letting go much easier.
However, if you still don’t understand the motive and if you still don’t see a different point of view, then just let it go. What good does it do you to continue dwelling on a wound? That wound is only hurting you, so let it go, leave it alone, and allow it to heal. Simply forgive. People make mistakes. We all have done things that we aren’t proud of, that we have asked forgiveness for, so realize that whoever hurt you is only a being that has made a mistake just like how you have made so many in your life. If you don’t forgive, you’re only hurting yourself. More importantly, perhaps it is yourself you have to forgive. If so, make peace with yourself and with the people you hurt. Understand why you made those decisions you now regret, learn from them, and grow as a person. If you aren’t the same person who made those mistakes in the past, then don’t punish your present self. Instead, accept that the past occurred and prove to the world that you have changed for the better, having learned from your mistakes.
Additionally, if you’re waiting for an apology, then you aren’t prepared to forgive in the first place. An apology is, in all actuality, just a set of words. Sometimes they are said with proper meaning, but, most times, an apology is attached to an imbalance of power. It is a power move, demonstrating who the alpha party truly is. A person apologizes, essentially begging for forgiveness, as another looks down with the decision of forgiving them or not. It is a power struggle about the ego. I, on the other hand, would much rather have a person show me they have made positive changes in their life and that they have grown from their past as opposed to hearing “I’m sorry,” but seeing no real improvement in their behavior. Even after someone repents, who’s to say you’ll still let go?
The only way to ensure peace of mind is to let go of everything that’s hurt you. Simply forgive. It is the easiest thing you can do.