Forgiveness means different things to different people. But in general, it involves an intentional decision to let go of resentment and anger.

The act that hurt or offended you might always be with you. But working on forgiveness can lessen that act’s grip on you. It can help free you from the control of the person who harmed you. Sometimes, forgiveness might even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting or excusing the harm done to you. It also doesn’t necessarily mean making up with the person who caused the harm. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that allows you to focus on yourself and helps you go on with life. (MayoClinic)

When someone you care about hurts you, you can hold on to anger and resentment – or embrace forgiveness and move forward.

Forgiveness is not only about letting go of resentment and anger, but it’s also about rebuilding relationships. Forgiveness can help heal wounds, restore trust, and create a deeper connection between two individuals. Rebuilding a relationship after a hurtful experience takes time, effort, and patience.

Forgiveness embodies three different things, each of which applies to different situations and provides different results. The three types of forgiveness are exoneration, forbearance, and release.

Often the hardest person to forgive is yourself. You are so hurt, yet you realize that you are the one to blame. You are the one who did it to yourself. And so you want to make yourself hurt.

The 4Ds of Forgiveness?
According to PositivePsychology, Forgiveness is a two-part process.

Intrapersonally, it involves an emotional transformation characterized by a release of resentment, hurt, anger, and other negative emotions associated with a perceived transgression.

Interpersonally, forgiveness can involve empathizing with the wrongdoer and treating them with more compassion. It is not always necessary to forget the perceived wrong or interact with the person you choose to hold responsible.

These 4Ds of Forgiveness can help you work through your negative emotions and journey through the forgiveness process.

These are:
Deep-Diving: Gaining more insight into the wrong and its current impact on you

Deciding: Reflecting on what forgiveness means to you and making an empowered decision to forgive, or not.

Doing: Empathizing with the wrongdoer and attempting to understand their actions to come to terms with your feelings.

Deepening: Finding growth opportunities and meaning in what has occurred. (PositivePsychology)

Steps to True Forgiveness: (Source:i4give)
Forgiveness is a process, not a singular action.
There are myriad approaches to understanding this process and making sense of it is unique to your situation and context.
Still, consider these steps to true forgiveness a rubric for embarking on a passage to meaningful forgiveness that will help you find a resolution.

Step 1: Acknowledge.
Acknowledge the hurt. Who hurt you and why did they do it? What is the context of the situation, and how long ago did this happen?

Step 2: Consider.
Consider how the hurt and pain have affected you. The word “consider” is key here because it involves thinking before deciding. Before you decide on whether you will forgive this person, consider the negative feelings you have acquired since the incident.
How has the pain changed you? How detrimental was the person’s mistake to your life or someone else?

Step 3: Accept.
Accept that you cannot change the past. No matter how much you wish this pain could be reversed, it is time to admit to yourself that your anger toward the person will not redeem what they have done. It is during this step that you must thoughtfully consider whether you want to forgive.

Step 4: Determine.
Determine whether you will forgive. This is when the forgiveness process will either begin or end. This decision should not be made lightly, as it will determine the future of your relationship with this person.

Step 5: Repair
Repair the relationship with the person who wronged you. Before any act of forgiveness or reconciliation, rebuild the connection you used to have with this person. In most cases, you will be the instigator of this repairing, but if you have thoughtfully engaged in the previous 4 steps, then there is a higher chance of success.

Note that you are repairing the relationship, not restoring it. It will likely take more time for the relationship to return to normal, whatever that may look like to you. Acts of repairing can include kind words, simple gestures, or even gifts.

Step 6: Learn.
Learn what forgiveness means to you. Up until now, you have probably thought that forgiveness is more for their benefit, not yours.
But once the relationship is on the path to restoration, and you have given yourself time to accept the reality of the past, forgiveness is a way for you to find closure. Closure that means

Step 7: Forgive.
Forgive the person who wronged you. In some cases, this will be silent. You may be compelled to verbally forgive the person, even if you do not expect a kind response, but if you have followed through on the previous steps, then their reaction will not really matter. What will matter is that you have found a way to let go and move on.

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