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All of us would have been hurt by someone at least once, and we understand how difficult it may be to forgive. It takes time, effort, and a lot of emotions. Do you really need to learn how to forgive someone? Well, first and foremost, choosing to forgive someone is itself a first step forward. Mahatma Gandhi actually said once, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
Also remember that forgiveness isn’t something you’re doing for others who have hurt you. It’s something you do for yourself. But then why is it so hard to forgive? Here’s your answer!
While it’s good to forgive, remembering what people may have done to you in the past can leave you feeling depressed and hopeless. You experience emotional effects which cause you to suffer and sometimes stay angry. When you suffer, it can be challenging for you to distinguish between what is good and what is wrong, which makes forgiving hard.
That’s why Health Shots reached out to Dr Sonal Anand, a psychiatrist at Wockhardt Hospitals on Mira Road, Mumbai, to discuss tips on how to forgive someone.
If you’re hurt, pain is common, but hanging onto resentment or grudges can make you feel worse and make you more negative. To avoid it, you must stand with your pain and accept reality. Dr Anand says, “Accept whatever has happened and the fact that mistakes can be made by anybody. You may find it easier to forgive in this manner.” To move on, this might be a gradual process.
Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Yes, placing yourself in the other person’s situation may help you comprehend their perspective on the reasons why they hurt you. “Maybe you would have reacted in a similar manner as the offender has if you tried to understand their part,” says Dr Anand. Most of the time, people hurt someone because they might be going through extremely difficult situations, which make it difficult for them to take care of their actions.
You always have two choices: one to feel stuck and the second to move on. Always choose to move on. “No matter what the person in front of you says, the choice of accepting is always yours. Choose to forgive and move on from being a victim to a better person,” says Dr Anand. For that, you must let go of your past, see things more positively in your life, focus on your goals and dreams, and take baby steps in order to make yourself motivated and be kind and compassionate towards yourself.
You might not realize it, but forgiving others can greatly enhance your life. Dr Anand says, “Forgiving the offender gives you the chance to replace negative thinking and stress with positive outcomes.” In fact, it can help you heal, increase your productivity and efficiency, and improve your relationships with others, including with the person who has hurt you if you want to.
We cannot deny that forgiveness is not easy. Some people even feel unable to forgive and move on since recalling that incident makes them angry and frustrated. That’s okay! But be mindful of your overall physical and emotional wellness. Holding onto grudges can be harmful to you if you already experience mental health concerns. So if you find it hard to organise your thoughts, don’t hesitate to ask for family and professional help.
Just because you’re having trouble forgiving someone doesn’t imply that you’re bad at forgiveness. It takes patience, time, and determination to forgive someone. Be kind to yourself, keep trying, and don’t be hard on yourself.