How do you forgive a loved one? How do I get myself to accept my pain? How can I start to think more positively about the person who has hurt me so much, what is the secret? The secret is that you don’t need this person. The essence of forgiveness is to dismiss the other person from the obligation to live up to your expectations.
The basics of forgiveness are knowing what you long for and allowing yourself too long for it, while at the same time no longer expecting someone else to fulfil your wishes. Or: ‘I long for a certain form of love, care and acknowledgement. But you don’t have to be the one to give it to me.’
In relationships it’s probably most difficult, because why would you have a partner if they can’t give you the love, care and acknowledgement you are looking for? However, forgiving is extremely important in relationships. Scientists say we should be aware that forgiving doesn’t mean ‘water under the bridge’, nor does it mean justifying things or apologising for them.
Nobody is entitled to forgiveness, it’s always a present. It has nothing to do with weakness. You can forgive someone and, at the same time, hate what they did or even find it unforgivable. And you can forgive someone for something and, at the same time, never want to see them again.
If you stay together, you need to know forgiveness is a process that takes time. It’s wise not to tell your partner ‘I forgive you’, because they will think that you have done so right then and there. If you’re not loving and understanding immediately, they may get frustrated or confused. It’s better to say: ‘I will try to forgive you, but give me time.’
Think of the times when your partner did give you love, care and acknowledgement. And realise that you don’t live for other people’s acknowledgement or love, but to fulfil your own life goals. That you can be a light for yourself within a relationship. And give yourself time.
Photo: Toa Heftiba
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