Forgiveness is a concept that I have recently been struggling to fully understand. There isn’t really a concrete guideline for how we should forgive people. Depending on the situation and/or our previous relationship with the person, it may make the idea of forgiving them that much harder. Below, I've listed the top things that I've found necessary to keep in mind throughout your journey towards forgiveness.
If you want the good, Christian answer. We should forgive because God forgave us and we should at least try to extend similar treatment towards others. In church, we talked about real love and how it isn't always easy; and I realized that real love may first call for forgiveness. Holding on to those negative emotions is damaging as it doesn't allow you to truly move on from the situation, sometimes making it easier and more justifiable to act negatively towards the other person which does nothing but cause more permanent damage.
1) Write About It.
Being able to organize and articulate your thoughts and emotions is a good skill to have and improve on regardless, but it is especially helpful in times where you have a lot on your mind and heart. Write a letter to the other person and don't send it. Or do send it. Write in a journal. Write a poem. Write a song. Hey, if you're feeling bold, write a blog post (avoid social media otherwise, especially at those peak moments of emotion...trust me it's not a good look). Take out a pen and paper and write out everything you need to say.
2) Take Time for Self- Reflection.
I have realized through my own situations that suppressing anger and bitterness for a prolonged period of time is a reflection of you rather than of the other person or what they've done to you.Truly sit down and take the time to understand your emotions. Actually allow yourself to express these emotions instead of holding them back. Really take the time you need to get to know yourself, especially as it pertains to your situation. People often go through these these negative emotions and act on them recklessly, disregarding the obvious deeper issues of the situation. Maybe the individual you're trying to forgive had a deeper reason for hurting or betraying you that needs to be addressed. If you can get to that point in forgiving them (and rekindling if it applies to your situation) maybe try investing the time to understand your situation together as well as your roles in each other's lives moving forward. Having these transparent conversations with others instead of cutting them off and moving on with your life miserably is actually more effective than it seems.
3) Realize that Forgiving Them Doesn't Mean You're Okay with Their Actions.
If it applies, it doesn't mean that they should be okay with your actions. Honestly, it doesn't even mean you have to let them be apart of your life again. It simply means that you're willing to let go of the resentment and bitterness towards them and your situation because...why not? Why hold on to that negative energy? Being able to forgive, when the other person may not even be sorry, shows strength through your decision to have more control and awareness of your actions.