Forgiveness: “I can’t get past how she hurt me.”

"Skyward" — Otto Lilienthal by Mimi Stuart
Live the Life you Desire

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

~Mahatma Gandhi

Why is it that only the strong can forgive? Because it takes strength to go for what you want in life, and to face the occasional failure and rejection that come with it. It’s easier to have an excuse for not living your life to the fullest. Moreover, it’s hard to stop thinking about the unjust treatment you’ve received.

Forgiving does not mean you approve of the hurtful behavior you’ve received. It is crucial to learn to protect yourself from similar harm in the future. Yet, you can also choose to stop feeling angry toward those who caused you harm.

Ironically, holding onto anger, no matter how justified, keeps you in victim status to the perpetrator, and this constricts your heart, spirit, and mind.

Forgiveness is not an easy, normal human reaction. But once you decide to let go of the desire to get even with someone who has hurt you, you free your heart and mind to live more expansively.

Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.

~Paul Boese

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

Read “Changing your victim story. “My dad was an alcoholic and my mom was never there for me.””

2 thoughts on “Forgiveness: “I can’t get past how she hurt me.”

  1. Chrys

    I’m not sure why people keep putting not forgiving and vengeance in the same basket. Just because you don’t forgive someone doesn’t mean you want to get even. Time wounds all heels is my motto. I also don’t believe in forgiveness for all things. To me, forgiveness is an emotion, something we need to feel for it to be genuine. We can not make ourselves feel something we don’t… and lets face it – there are some things and some people that just shouldn’t be forgiven. When I hear the words “Only the strong can forgive” I shake my head. It’s simply not true. You have to be a lot stronger to not forgive… and let go. By insisting that people forgive those who have harmed them is harmful. It only adds a sense of shame to the feelings they are already dealing with as a result of the harm done if they are unable to forgive. Being able to let go – for me – has worked a lot faster and more completely by allowing myself not to forgive. I firmly place that post it note squarely on their foreheads in my mind where it shall remain for all time. THEN, I walk away. Frankly, I believe, that if we as a society were not so easily forgiven our transgressions – we would be far less likely to repeat them. I find it kind of funny how we spend so much time telling and helping people to get over the stuff that’s been done to them yet spend almost no time on the ones causing the harm. It’s very rare (if ever) that you will see a “Why Are You Such A Monster?” or “Do You Think You Deserve Forgiveness?” article.

    Reply
    1. Alison Post author

      I agree that forgiveness does not mean excusing a person for a wrong that have committed. It also doesn’t mean that you should forget that that person hurt you and is capable of hurting you again. It means to stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone who has wronged you. The point is that you only hurt yourself by dwelling in resentment and anger. Yes, protect yourself from that person, get justice if appropriate, but don’t become a victim.

      “Forgiving does not mean you approve of the hurtful behavior you’ve received. It is crucial to learn to protect yourself from similar harm in the future. Yet, you can also choose to stop feeling angry toward those who caused you harm.

      Ironically, holding onto anger, no matter how justified, keeps you in victim status to the perpetrator, and this constricts your heart, spirit, and mind.”

      Thank you for your comment.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

20 + nine =