10 Ways To Forgive Someone Without Hating Yourself For Doing It

Image via Unsplash/Jacob Walti

Is there someone you’re feeling resentful toward? Did someone do something to you that you will never be OK with? That is a totally sensible way to feel, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t forgive that person. There are a lot of reasons and even more research that explain how letting go of resentment is good for you and the people in your life. Despite beliefs to the contrary, you don’t have to lose anything when you forgive someone. Here are a few reasons why forgiveness is the most sensible option.

1. To Forgive Literally Means “To Untie”

Forgiveness is a hard thing for a lot of people to get their heads around. It’s easier to understand once you learn that the Aramaic word for “forgive” means “untie.” When you’re forgiving someone, you’re untying a huge weight from around you, loosening yourself from the person who wronged you by not letting them have so much control over the ways you think and feel.

2. Holding On To Anger Is A Type Of Self-Inflicted Pain

If you haven’t forgiven somebody, you’re most likely still angry at them. Maybe you’ve been angry at them for a long time. That anger is extremely unhealthy — mentally, emotionally and even physically.

3. It’s Not Really Hurting The Person You’re Angry At

Even if you believe in karma or the power of releasing certain energies into the world, you have to know that there’s no way your anger is permeating the offender’s life to the degree that it is negatively impacting your own. That hatred and bitterness you feel doesn’t make its way to the person you’re angry at; it stays right with you. Nelson Mandela is quoted as saying, “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for it to kill your enemy.” Stop drinking the poison.

4. The Best Way To Get Even With The Offender Is To Live A Successful And Happy Life

There are other ways to get revenge, sure, but this one leaves the least blood on your hands. Prove to them (and to yourself) that they were wrong about you. Live up to the potential that they couldn’t see in you and that you might not have been able to see in yourself.

5. There’s Always A Silver Lining

“Everything always turns out for the best” is a bullshit statement. Sometimes terrible things happen and scar you in ways you can’t heal from. I’m not disagreeing with that, but it’s worth pointing out that you can usually find some good in bad situations. The most obvious example is that you learned that the person who wronged you isn’t a person you would want in your life anyway. You found out about their inner ugliness early, instead of down the road when you might have already invested even more time and emotional energy in them.

6. You Can Put Those Hurt Feelings Toward Something Good

Anger is a powerful emotion and can be directed in a positive way, too. Did someone make fun of you for being overweight? Use the sting of their insults as fuel to jump on the treadmill and eat healthy until you make what they said about you untrue.

7. It Will Help You Get Over It Faster

Holding onto hate is strangely tempting, but letting go of it helps you move on with your life. The sooner you understand that, the less time that hatred has to consume you.

8. It Doesn’t Make What They Did To You OK

You can hope that that person learns from their mistakes and leads a good and happy life without forgetting that they did something bad to you. Wishing someone well after they wronged you is not weak; it’s strong.

9. You Don’t Need To Tell Them That You Forgive Them

A common misconception about forgiveness is that the words “I forgive you” has to come out of your mouth. Forgiveness at its core is about changing how you feel about something. It might offer some closure, but you absolutely don’t have to speak to the person who wronged you again to forgive them. In some cases, it could be to your detriment to call them up just to tell them that you’ve forgiven them. It could make you seem weak or needy, when in fact it took incredible strength. Forgiving them means that you don’t need them for anything anymore.

10. You Gain Perspective

You’re a little wiser about the world afterward. You might not like what you know now, but at least you know it, and maybe it will help you heal from future pain faster.