How to Practice Forgiveness

How to Practice Forgiveness

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

Paul Boese

We all know there’s an art to apologizing. But, what about the art of forgiveness?

Making the choice to forgive is a profound act of liberation, with the potential to free both the forgiver and the forgiven from resentment and unnecessary pain.

Yet, forgiveness is also one of the most challenging tasks we can undertake. Whether it’s forgiving a friend’s cutting remark, a partner’s betrayal, or your own past mistakes, forgiveness requires courage, compassion, and a willingness to let go of the past.

In this post, we’re sharing 10 tips to practicing the art of forgiveness:

1. Understand what forgiveness means

At its core, the choice to forgive is not about condoning the actions of others or denying the hurt they’ve caused. Instead, it’s a conscious decision to release the grip of bitterness and resentment that binds us to the past. The of forgiving is a gift we give ourselves, allowing us to reclaim our peace of mind and emotional well-being.

2. Acknowledge your feelings

Before attempting to forgive, it’s essential to acknowledge and honor your feelings. It’s natural to feel hurt, angry, or betrayed when someone has wronged you. Allow yourself to experience these emotions without judgment. Recognize that your feelings are valid and deserving of attention.

3. Cultivate empathy

Empathy is the cornerstone of forgiveness. Strive to understand the perspective of the person who has hurt you. What might have led them to act in the way they did? Recognizing their humanity can humanize their actions, making the choice to forgive them a more attainable goal.

4. Release resentment

When you’ve been hurt by another person, resentment might feel inevitable. But, holding onto resentment over time only perpetuates your suffering, keeping you tethered to the past. Choosing to let go of resentment– not for the sake of the person who hurt you, but for your own peace of mind– is a powerful position to take.

5. Practice self-compassion

Forgiving oneself can be just as challenging as forgiving others. We’re all imperfect beings, prone to making mistakes and errors in judgment. Practice self-compassion by treating yourself with kindness and understanding. Recognize that you’re worthy of being forgiven, just as much as anyone else.

6. Set boundaries

Choosing to forgive another person for their actions does not mean allowing them to continue hurting you. It’s essential to establish healthy boundaries to protect yourself from further harm. Communicate your boundaries clearly and assertively, and be willing to enforce them if necessary.

7. Embrace vulnerability

Forgiveness requires vulnerability – the willingness to expose your heart to the possibility of pain. Opening yourself up to this possibility when you’ve already been hurt can be scary, but it’s also incredibly empowering. Embrace vulnerability as a pathway to healing and transformation, and you might be surprised by what unfolds.

8. Make forgiveness a habit

Forgiveness is not a one-time event but a continuous practice. Cultivate a mindset of releasing resentment in your daily life by letting go of minor grievances and frustrations as they pop up. As with any other habit, the more you practice, the more natural it becomes.

9. Seek support

Forgiveness can be a daunting journey to undertake alone. Seek support from friends, family, or a therapist who can offer guidance and perspective along the way. Surround yourself with people who uplift and encourage you on your path to forgiveness.

10. Celebrate your progress

Forgiveness is a journey marked by small victories and milestones. Celebrate your progress, no matter how incremental it may seem. Remember: Each step you take towards forgiveness is bringing you closer to freedom and peace!


Enjoy this post? You might also like:

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Self-Compassion: 4 Ways to Start Practicing It Today
Your Emotional Wellness: 50+ Ways to Support It

Need help practicing forgiveness in one or more areas of your life?