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Step-by-Step Guide On How To Truly Forgive Someone And Let Them Go, According To Psychologists

“When we’ve been treated deeply unfairly by others, we should have the tools to deal with that, so the effects of that injustice don’t take hold in an unhealthy way.” – Dr. Robert Enright

We all know the feeling of being hurt by someone. We have all felt the immense pain of betrayal. Maybe your partner is neglecting you. Maybe they cheated on you. Maybe your colleagues made fun of you back in college. Maybe your best friend broke your trust.

The list goes on… But what stays is the hurt that can take eons to heal.

When we get hurt, we react in different ways. Some of us are numbing their pain and some have a really difficult time moving on.

But, experiencing negative emotions for a long time can lead to serious psychological damages to the well-being of the individual. They must be resolved as soon as possible. And to do so, it takes real effort and time.

The best way to let go of any negative feelings is through the power of forgiveness. However, forgiveness is something that many people still find it very hard to do. But, why is it hard?

First, you should understand that forgiving somebody does not mean forgetting and moving on.

Forgiveness is compassionately releasing yourself from the desire to punish and harm somebody for offending and hurting you.

And, yes, forgiveness is a choice that you should willingly make.

So, how can you successfully forgive someone and let them go? Here are 11 ways by Dr. Robert Enright that will help you in the process.

1. Realize that forgiveness is possible.

You can’t forgive anyone without first believing that forgiveness is possible. You must understand and accept the fact that the solution to your problems and pain is only through forgiveness.

2. Choose to forgive.

You cannot truly forgive someone if you are forcing yourself to forgive them. The most important thing in order to forgive is that you willingly make a decision to do so.  

3. Make a list of everyone that has wronged you.

Make a list of everyone who has harmed you in the past from your childhood days to the present day. After you make the list, classify the names beginning with those who hurt you the most. Then, start to forgive the people from the bottom of your list and work your way up.

4. Release the anger.

You need to face your emotions that you have been feeling and to release them. Release all the buildup anger and past hurt in order to heal and move on successfully.

5. Commit yourself to the act of forgiveness.

After releasing your anger, you are ready to commit to the mere act of forgiveness. Once you realize your deeply ingrained feelings of anger, pain, and unhappiness, you can willingly try to forgive to make yourself feel better.

6. Consider the other person.

This step involves thinking about the other person and looking at them from a different perspective. Ask yourself, were they also hurt in some way? Did their pain contribute to yours?

7. Acknowledge they are human beings like you.

Everyone makes mistakes. You and the person that has hurt you are both born into this world, and you are both going to die someday. You both bleed when you are cut. And there are also people that might have hurt them. So, try to be more understanding of them.

8. Soften your heart.

Probably your heart is hardened by the hurt. However, in order to forgive and release the pain, you need to show your compassionate side and let your heart to soften little by little.

9. Take the pain.

It is a normal thing to feel pain. But the pain is essential to the process of forgiveness, says Dr. Enright. Plus, it can make you even stronger.

10. Reflect and find yourself again.

When the pain passes, it begins the reflection period. In this period, you will rediscover yourself, you will find your new purpose, strength, and happiness. You will understand why everything happened the way it happened.

11. Repeat the forgiving process.

Repeat this process every time that you need to forgive someone.

By practicing the act of forgiveness, you could finally live a stronger, happier, and more fulfilling life.

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Mary Wright is a professional writer with more than 10 years of incessant practice. Her topics of interest gravitate around the fields of the human mind and the interpersonal relationships of people.