Forgiveness can sometimes feel like a catch-22. We know deep down that holding onto the emotional pain from a betrayal is hurting us, and yet we can’t find it in ourselves to forgive. We rationalize holding onto anger by telling ourselves that we are the victim in the situation and that some people do not deserve our forgiveness. This blog article is a resource for those who are struggling with forgiveness. Here you can find tips to help you to heal from a painful betrayal and forgive when you don’t feel like it. Spiritual teachers have long taught us that practicing forgiveness is a virtue that brings us peace and a greater sense of fulfillment in our relationships.
Learning how to forgive when you don’t feel like it is a powerful step toward raising your vibration and transforming your life. When you have been hurt or betrayed by someone, it is not your fault. However, it is your responsibility to do what is needed for you to heal and move on. Staying in a “victim mindset” only further exasperates our suffering in difficult situations and lowers our energetic vibration. Try to think of forgiveness not as something that you do for others, but as something that you do for yourself. Through unconditional compassion for ourselves, we can find compassion for others.
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”– Buddhaghosa
Learning how to forgive when you don’t feel like it is not an easy task. There is often a strong mental resistance toward forgiving others when we feel that we have been wronged. When we feel pressured to forgive, it may only increase those feelings of resistance. There may be a sense of justice that we feel in our refusal to forgive others. By holding onto anger about a situation, we give ourselves a false sense of control by weaponizing our own pain.
This way of thinking ultimately backfires, as we hurt ourselves in our attempts to rationalize the pain that we hold onto. Think of it this way: if someone else was in the wrong, why should you be the one who suffers by feeling bad about it? Letting go of the anger and forgiving others empowers us to take back control over our emotions in a positive way.
Shift your mindset from “victim” to “victor”. Despite how others have hurt you in your life, you are still here. You are still trying. By that alone, you are victorious. Try to let go of any feelings of guilt that you may have about your resistance toward forgiveness. Forgive yourself first. That is often the first step towards when learning how to forgive when you don’t feel like it.
Let’s start off by backtracking the thought process behind rationalizing why we are holding onto anger. Here are a few of the reasons why you should forgive when you don’t feel like it that can help you to shift your perspective and break down that mental resistance holding you back.
There is an energetic vibration in everything, including our thoughts and beliefs. Negative emotions can be considered “low vibration”, and positive emotions can be considered “high vibration”. The goal is to raise your vibration so that you are empowered to feel, think, and live a more positive life.
Our minds are so powerful at creating our reality that when we truly believe something, it sends a message to the universe. What we think tends to become our reality as everything we experience is perceived through the lens of our beliefs. Our thoughts and beliefs deeply impact our lives as every decision, interaction, and thought is guided by what we believe to be true.
Forgiveness allows us to let go of negative emotions that are weighing us down and lowering our vibration. It allows us to see the best in other people, even though they make mistakes. There is power in forgiveness. Our outer reality is a mirror of our inner beliefs. Learning how to forgive when you don’t feel like it can change your life in a powerful, positive way.
After a trauma such as a betrayal, our nervous system can be left in shambles. Sometimes it is easy to forget that our mind, body, and spirit are intricately connected. When we hold onto emotional pain, that pain can manifest physically.
The negative emotions that we feel when we are unable to forgive can manifest as chronic illness, headaches, stomach pains, and neurological issues. Learning how to forgive when you don’t feel like it lifts the burden of stress not only from your psyche but from your nervous system as well.
Forgiveness can even increase your lifespan by reducing the internal stress that causes us to age faster.
Now that we have discussed some of the reasons to forgive when you don’t feel like it, let’s get started on doing the work. Here are three actionable steps that you can begin today to start the process of forgiveness.
It can be difficult to stop ruminating and compulsively thinking about the pain that others have caused us. If you find yourself playing over in your head the things that you wish you could say to someone that hurt you, this tip is for you. Here are a few journaling prompts for when you are struggling with forgiveness:
- Write a letter addressed to the person who hurt you and let all of your frustration out on paper. Then you can burn or rip up the letter to symbolize letting go of those feelings.
- Write down the events that transpired, so that you can zoom out a little bit and see the situation from new perspectives.
- Ask yourself if there is something that you could have done differently in the situation, or what you can do differently in the future. Write a letter to yourself, forgiving yourself. You can also tell yourself the words that you wish you could hear from others.
- Make a list of all the reasons why forgiveness would be beneficial to you, even if you don’t want to forgive. Seeing it on paper in your own handwriting may help you shift your mindset to be more accepting of the concept of forgiveness.
- Buy a cheap, breakable plate and some markers. Then write down the things that you want to let go of on the plate. Put the plate in a plastic bag, go outside, and smash the plate to represent letting go of those feelings. Make sure to practice common sense safety and not to litter when using this method (put the pieces in the trash afterward).
Books are a great resource in your path towards self-transformation. There are many books from experts in psychology, spirituality, and self-help that can give you further insight on how to learn how to forgive when you don’t feel like it. Here are two books that we recommend for learning how to forgive.
- How to Forgive…When You Don’t Feel Like by Jane Hunt
- What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing by Oprah Winfrey and Bruce D. Perry
This method may be the most difficult for some people. It can be hard to be vulnerable enough to ask for help. Asking for help is not a weakness. There is strength in vulnerability.
In some situations, it may be appropriate to reach out to the other party for help. After an argument, be the first one to reach out and ask them to forgive you. You can also ask them to explain their point of view on the situation to grant you a different perspective that you may not have considered. Open and honest communication can help us to repair relationships after a negative experience and learn how to trust people again.
Some wounds are so deep, that we can not deal with them on our own. If your struggle to forgive is causing you extreme distress, it is a good idea to consult with a professional. Going to therapy can be the first step toward learning to forgive yourself and others. With the guidance of a counselor, it may be easier to work through the difficult feelings in a safe environment. Therapy is not always accessible. In this case, seek out alternative support systems such as talking to a spiritual leader in your community or going to a community support group. You can also reach out to close friends and family for support in your journey towards forgiveness.
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