Forgiving someone who has hurt you can lead to less negative emotions and more healing in your own life. This can be hard, especially if someone who hurt you was or is close to you. Traumatic experiences, whether emotional or physical, may have a significant weight on you, especially when subjected by your parents or partner and can lead to lasting anger and bitterness.
Forgiveness does not mean letting their actions go unnoticed but instead giving you space for you to grow and find peace without the feelings of negativity clouding your mind.
Some of the steps that may help you in achieving this state include:
1) Accepting trauma does not entail justifying or forgetting it
Try not to explain it, and don’t make excuses for the person who traumatised you. Saying it aloud, such as “I’ve been traumatised by this person, and I need to work through that,” might be helpful. Do not let the trauma profoundly control how you live your life, especially in creating a healthy space to relate with others, even those who hurt you. Acknowledging the different ways the trauma has shaped your life, especially as an adolescent, will help you understand how your healing will be.
2) It’s unlikely that you can forgive someone right away
Before you are ready to forgive, you don’t need to get rid of the hurt completely. Being able to forgive is a choice, not an emotion. Trauma caused through parent-teen relationships may significantly affect adolescents, especially in causing anger and so much confusion. Forgiveness, in this case, may not come quickly; thus, you can easily dismiss any positive thoughts toward people who hurt you and yourself. However long it takes, you should know that the hurt may never disappear, and trauma may manifest differently. Therefore, it is essential to know that it will also affect you and, in turn, how you view others and the world.
3) You can better manage your emotions by voicing them
Write down your feelings, how you currently feel, and what you believe forgiveness will do for you. Knowing what you want is very powerful in governing how your life is and will be. Journaling or talking to someone can help you discern what you want without the fear and weight of the trauma holding you down. Dwelling in hurtful situations can significantly affect you mentally and emotionally; voicing them out can help you improve how you see the situation and even forge better ways to relate with others.
4) Offering forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean the person will change
Forgiving someone can often improve your relationship with others since working through trauma changes you for the better. Sometimes, it is crucial to understand that people who hurt you may never change. This may, in turn, create more feelings of resentment toward the person and even see no need to forgive them. However, you should know that forgiveness benefits you more than it does them and thus only makes it better for you. Holding on to feelings of resentment can cause significant anxiety and depression in teenagers and cause anxious attachment styles that are dangerous.
5) You might be better off keeping your forgiveness to yourself
If the person who traumatised you hasn’t shown any remorse or even said they’re sorry, they might not react well to you telling them you forgive them. Talking to someone like that can cause you more stress than is necessary, especially if they are still your parent. Therefore, you can choose to stay clear of such people and opt for forgiveness that will benefit you. Forgiveness can be letting go of their anxiousness, showing remorse, and focusing on what makes them happy and contented. People react differently, and chances are they make you feel even worse than before; thus, it’s essential to acknowledge this and focus on yourself.
6) Having clear boundaries can help you avoid conflict with this person in the future
Boundaries are everything while offering forgiveness. They involve knowing what you want in life and also how you value yourself. Anything that may interfere with your sense of peace and healing, like unhealthy parenting, should be avoided. Meeting someone who has traumatised you over and over in the past can highly affect this and change how you feel about yourself or make you go back to patterns that do more hurt to you.
7) Forgiveness is complex and might not come naturally
A therapist can assist you in processing your feelings of anger, sadness, or guilt healthily if you’re experiencing any of these emotions. Reaching out should not be shameful. Acknowledging that you need help and seeking it is essential and a step towards total healing. Healing allows you to experience life more openly, gives you a chance to have healthy relationships and attachments with others, stable mental health and builds your self-esteem. Recognising the value of forgiveness in your life will shift your mind to doing better for yourself. This may be a difficult step, but it will improve your relationship with others.