Part 1 Love After the Storm: 8 Principles of Forgiveness


“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” Lewis B. Smedes

Have you ever wished for a vaccine or injection that would make you immune to the pain of love hurt? I have. If you dream of a happily ever after, you must also plan to forgive. Imagine love as a value meal, forgiveness and disappointment come with it. I know firsthand how hard it is to forgive, but I am also aware of its benefits. I have identified 8 principles of forgiveness that I learned from my clients as well as personal experience. Here are the first four:

1. Forgiveness is a favor you do for you first.

Lots of clients say they refuse to forgive as doing so will let their family member, partner or friend off the hook. To ensure that their offender understands the pain, the hurt person holds onto it. Unforgiveness will haunt your unconscious and show up without your permission to ruin your future relationships or the future of your relationship. It’s like bed bugs. It will get into anything precious to you, and you will carry it everywhere you go. It’s contagious. To forgive is mostly a gift you give to yourself. It’s self-love. When you forgive, you agree to heal. Do yourself a favor, and recognize that forgiveness is a favor you do for you.

"Unforgiveness...is like bedbugs. It will get into anything precious to you, and you will carry it everywhere you go."

2. Forgiveness recognizes the sum of events above the one event.

Think about it. When your partner violates your trust, do you believe the violation defines the person? It’s like anything he or she did prior to the transgression was counterfeit, and this one betrayal is more real. You might believe that any other behavior was a part of this overarching scam that finally came to light when they betrayed you. The measure of a person should not be based on what he or she rarely does, even if it is a wrongdoing. Whereas there are some events that can change what the relationship looks like, one transgression cannot be worth more than one hundred trustworthy actions.

"One transgression cannot be worth more than one hundred trustworthy actions."

3. Forgiveness is humbling.

We spend a lot of time comparing ourselves to others when they betray us. You may have said, “How could you?” More striking is the following thought: “I would have never done anything like that to you.” You may not hurt a person in the same way they hurt you, but in love, there will be hurt. We will all stand on both sides of forgiveness, so consider becoming the person you would want to face when you make a mistake. If you want forgiveness, consider that when it’s your turn.

"We will all stand on both sides of forgiveness, so consider becoming the person you would want to face when you make a mistake."

4. Forgiveness is not a quick fix. It’s a process.

Get over it. How many times have you heard a person respond and say “ok, I will?” Perhaps, they did sarcastically. When betrayers minimize how you feel, it could suggest they see no wrong in what they did. It is hard to shake feelings and thoughts that go unacknowledged. The offender may have to hear the hurt and provide reassurance multiple times. This is hardly a time to make a person walk on egg shells or shame them. Forgiving neither makes you a judge nor your offender a bad person. Forgiveness is how we reconnect after the hurt, and it is the way imperfect people love wholly.

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