Coming back from a situation where your trust has been broken by someone you love can be one of the hardest things to do, and there is truly no right or wrong way to forgive someone. Oftentimes, a betrayal involves a close, personal relationship such as a marriage or friendship. This can make it especially difficult to process and move forward from, and it can leave you second-guessing whether or not you’ll ever be able to trust the person who hurt you again.
The most important thing would be understanding what it means to forgive someone and why you want to do it. Forgiveness does not inherently mean that you are relieving them of any responsibility for their actions or that you have to continue your relationship. Rather it is the action of relinquishing yourself from any grudge or negative feelings towards that person that you’re holding onto. Even though standing firm on any dissatisfaction you may be feeling is completely valid, in the end you are causing yourself more harm than good.
Before you decide to forgive them, I would recommend that you take space and time for yourself to process your emotions and decide what you would like to do in regards to the future of the relationship. Take some time to shamelessly feel all of the anguish, anger, and hurt that you need to feel whilst reminding yourself that this is a natural response. Deal with these emotions in healthy ways such as journaling and using positive self-talk. Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are valuable, beautiful, and resilient so that you can recover with a sense of self-worth and power.
Taking a step back and giving a purpose to the betrayal can play a key part on the road to forgiveness as well. Instead of looking at through the lens of a tragedy leaving you damaged, you could change your perspective into actually being thankful that things happened the way that they did. For instance, if you caught your partner cheating, you could be grateful that you found out instead of living blindly while they continued to do it behind your back. An easier way of thinking would be to just think of the betrayal as something that has made you stronger for having endured the misery that followed; like a sword forged in flame. This process could reinforce the emotional strength you’ll need to forgive the person who broke your trust.
If you do decide to take the leap and rebuild the relationship, it is very possible. While that may be true, it will take time, honesty, and communication. Firstly, you and the other person must open up to one another and discuss how you feel. You may even be tempted to get angry, scream, or yell. But you must remain calm and be sure to use “I” statements when confronting them, such as “I feel hurt by your actions,”. You and the person who betrayed you must have empathy and take the time to understand where you’re each coming from. If you both agree that you would like to continue your relationship, then you could delve deeper into the healing process by seeking out therapy where they will give you different tools to do so.
All in all, the biggest secret to forgiveness is understanding that the purpose is not to excuse one’s behavior but to release ourselves from the weight of the negative emotions that we are carrying as a result of what happened.
Forgiveness must involve taking back power in your own life, so the main focus should be self-love and healing. You will find yourself on temporary highs of relief only to fall back into doubt and mistrust if you do not continuously put your own feelings first. Remember to nurture yourself and the new found confidence that follows will allow forgiveness to flow through you with more and more ease over time.