10 Steps to Forgive a Person Without Forgetting the Pain
“I will forgive, but I will never forget.” I was perplexed when I first heard this saying as a child. How could you forgive someone without forgetting? I asked my mom what she meant by this, and she told me that life is too short to hold a grudge. Forgiving the person for having peace of mind is best, but that doesn’t mean you forget what they did. If they can do it once, they can do it again. But again, the question is how? It took me many years to discover the answer to this question.
What Does It Mean
What does it mean to forgive without forgetting? To forgive someone means to stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake. 1 To forget means to put it out of one’s mind. 2 To forgive but never forget means to stop feeling resentful towards a person for an offense but never put the offense out of your mind.
10 Steps to Forgive
How do you forgive someone for hurting you? How do you trust again? Or do you ever? Does that person deserve your forgiveness?
Well, forgiveness is more for you than for the other person. Forgiveness involves an intentional decision to let go of resentment and anger. 3 Holding a grudge could lead to bitterness and hatred towards the person who offended you and others. That decision could lead to being unable to trust anyone and always being known as mean and lonely one. And everyone needs someone; no matter how much you think of yourself as superman or superwoman, we all need help.
So, here are ten steps to forgive.
1. Acknowledge the hurt and pain you’ve experienced
The first step in many situations is acknowledging that you have been hurt and recognizing the person who hurt you. It can be heartbreaking to know that someone you love and trust has caused you pain. Take that moment to grieve, cry, and feel the hurt of the actions.
2. Remind yourself that you can forgive without condoning hurtful behavior
Forgiveness is about letting go of that anger to move forward in life. You do not have to excuse the behavior; just let go of that resentment.
3. Find a way to express your hurt and anger
Communicating that you have been hurt safely is the most relieving feeling. I write and paint my emotions out. For others, going to the gym, talking with a therapist, or even going out with a good friend are ways to express your hurt. Even a rage room would work wonderfully to release your pain and anger.
4. Consider the motivations behind the hurtful behavior
I am a firm believer that hurt people tend to hurt others. That does not excuse that person’s behavior, but it can lead to understanding why this person did what they did.
5. Learn to accept the situation and move forward
What happened, happened. We have to learn to accept that fact. Saying, “if this would’ve happened instead..” “Maybe I should’ve done this differently..” “If only..” It will not change what has happened. Accepting the reality of the situation and what has played out helps you to move forward from there.
6. Let go of the need to be right
In many of these moments, the person who has done the offense always has a reason for doing what they did. And yes, it can be VERY upsetting to listen to this person trying to justify their actions, which can bring back that moment of pain. You will want to argue with the person about how they are wrong and why you are hurt. But you have to let it go. I also find it impossible to reason with someone who has done you wrong. They will always believe they are right in their actions and behavior. And trying to prove them wrong is a waste of your time and energy.
7. Look for ways to show kindness and understanding
Try to find ways to show yourself compassion. Take a day off work, go to the movies, go out to dinner. Do not sit in the hatred that person stowed on you. Show yourself that life still moves on, and so can you. Even if that pain is triggered again somehow, be kind to yourself and understand that you are still healing, which takes time.
8. Create healthy boundaries to protect yourself
Boundaries can be as simple as telling someone not to hug you, not to talk over you, or not to say a particular thing. Setting simple boundaries like these can help you figure out whom you can trust because if they cross small boundaries, they have no problem crossing over bigger ones.
9. Spend time with people who support you
Find people who love and support you while you are taking this time to heal. Talk with them and discuss solutions and have fun. The people who support you want you to find your groove back, and they understand it can be challenging, but as long as you put in the work, they have your back.
10. Be grateful for the lessons you’ve learned and the growth from the experience
Everything we go through is a lesson learned. Reframing the experience helps us let go and realize we can move forward. Yes, it sucks being hurt, but how we grow from it and become even better is fantastic.
How to Not Forget
What you are not forgetting is the pain. The pain shall always be there with you; you may even remember it, and that resentment may return. The act of healing oneself is a never-ending journey. So, remember the pain and hurt. You set boundaries and communicate clearly with those around you. Be mindful of red flags, and trust your gut instinct if something doesn’t feel right. Seek healthy relationships with people who respect and support you. Always be kind to yourself and show love to yourself.