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How Do We Learn To Forgive In Our Relationship?

This is one of the most difficult traits to put into action. How come we need to forgive? and how can you do that without compromising yourself?

To forgive your partner if they’ve done something to hurt you can be one of the hardest things to do your relationship.

When feelings arise of anger or betrayal, the idea of forgiving someone can feel a little bit like giving in and can create enormous resentment. This can be because we have the though that I am allowing them to ‘get away with it’.

Our pain can sometimes hang onto negative emotions where we act distant and withdraw as a way of punishing the person who has upset you. This is a self preservation coping skill because trust has been taken away so our pain pushes rather than pulls them inward.

It’s not unusual to feel this way. We try so hard sometimes to push these thoughts away, however that is short term coping which will cost you personally and in the relationship.

Forgiveness is a bold step in the right direction. Susan Jeffery's writes about forgiveness, 'to forgive is to set a prisoner free, only to realise the prisoner is you'.

It involves you being able to make a focused and goal oriented effort to begin to heal, so you can both move forward together.

I am not ready to forgive

We're sure you’ve heard cliches such as ‘not harbouring a grudge’ or ‘being the bigger person’. Well, that sounds great however, it might all seem that simple, as we all know, forgiveness can be tricky.

When we hold onto the pain someone we love has caused us, to forgive allows yourself to be vulnerable. Forgiving someone means letting go of your anger and letting go of the ‘moral high ground’. It can also be difficult as it may involve having to consider how you yourself contributed to the problem. Although it’s tempting to imagine ourselves as completely in the right when it comes to disagreements, there are usually two sides to any argument.

There’s a famous quote that goes: ‘Holding onto resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.’ Forgiveness isn’t just about retaining harmony in your relationship; it’s also about being kind to yourself. If you’re not careful, anger can eat away at you and even affect your attitude towards relationships in the future, making you feel more defensive or unwilling to trust.

Tips on the road to forgiveness and healing:

1) Recognise the need to forgive (or be forgiven).

Notice ongoing feelings of resentment or anger.

2) Create safety.

This involves physical safety, psychological safety, and relational safety. Seek help from Redland's Counselling Service if you recognise that you do not feel safe.

3) Notice the narrative keep appearing and stop feeding it.

Notice and change your thoughts so that you can let go of defensiveness and blaming.

4) Discuss what has happened.

Talk about the event. Talk about your thoughts, feelings, concerns, and desires (what was it like for you?).Receive empathy.Try to see the situation from the others’ perspective.

5) Choose to say, “I’m sorry,” or “I forgive you.”

Be deliberate about making the choice to speak those words.Take responsibility for choices you made, then and now.Find or create a support network (friends, family, or faith community).Release negative feelings and move on.

6) Choose to live your life based on your values of love, kindness, forgiveness and acceptance.

If you need help in your relationship working to heal and forgive, contact Matt at Redlands Counselling Service or book in for a session.

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