How to Forgive Even If They Don’t Apologize
How to Forgive and Let Go Without Being Weak or Submissive
Who hasn’t been hurt by someone, either physically, emotionally, or both?
Just a few words can feel like someone just punched you right in the heart, and then strolled off without a backward glance.
Sadness, confusion, rage can flood your system and leave you a sweaty, shaking mess.
Storm clouds of resentment or anger start thundering in your head. The thoughts circle around and around, stealing your focus and blocking out happiness.
You can’t stop thinking about what they did to you.
Or perhaps you can shove all that emotion down, but you wonder why you start to feel hollow inside, or experience aching or stabbing pain in your back, hips, or solar plexus.
So how can you let go, forgive, and break free of the negative experience so you can access joy?
Get Specific – Write it Out.
The first step towards forgiveness and letting go to get specific about how the experience negatively impacted you. You will achieve clarity twice as quickly if you grab a pen and paper and write out what it was that hurt you instead of just thinking about it.
Why? You will stop thinking in circles. Put pen to paper, and you won’t repeat the same sentences over and over again.
Explore what happened and why you are upset.
Did what was done infringe on your dignity as a human being? How?
Is someone abusing you verbally or physically?
Did they try to control you or take away your power?
Did they try to make you feel small?
Did they disrespect you?
Did they withhold love?
Did they break a promise?
Did they use you?
Did they ‘just’ act rude, ungrateful or take you for granted?
Did they reject you?
Analyze your situation. Can you talk with the person who has hurt you and ask for a sincere apology, make amends, and request them to never engage in this behavior again?
Can you trust this person to keep their word?
Forgiveness is not condoning or pardoning lousy behavior. You do not need to turn the other cheek just to get slapped twice. Not challenging or excusing bad behavior can be damaging- not only to you but to other people and the perpetrator themselves.
Researchers found that forgiving can raise the chances of the transgressor hurting you again because they no longer face negative repercussions such as criticism, loneliness, and guilt (1).
Another study found that people were less likely to transgress against someone who they saw as agreeable if they also were a friendly person too.
You can turn the other cheek to get kissed where you can trust the behavior won’t happen again. It may be able to heal the cracks in the relationship.
The good news is that there are levels of forgiveness.
Forgiveness does not require a sincere apology and amends to take place. Read on to learn how you can release the hold a person has over your body, mind, and emotions, even if they don’t apologize.
Eye-to-Eye with the Fear
Please note: (If you are trapped in a situation in which you are being abused, and you can’t get out, please seek help to get to safety. Forgiving someone who will hurt you again is NOT THE ANSWER.) Perhaps there is part of you that thinks you deserve the terrible behavior, the hurt. You deserve love and respect. Please don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
If you’re hurting, there is almost always fear that is clinging to you. There is fear that it will happen all over again.
Take a breath and thank your mind for its obsession with what has hurt you. Your body and mind are remarkable; they have been formed to protect you.
You may be fed up with the constant negativity and rumination. You want to let go, feel light and carefree, enjoy life, smile, laugh easily again, feel joy and be fun to be around.
The brain and body have the best of intentions for you. They want to keep you safe.
It might sound stupid and out there for you, but thank your mind and body. Assure your mind and body that you are safe and can be happy.