What Does it Mean to Forgive Someone?
When someone you love betrays you or breaks your heart, it hurts.
Not only do you have the pain of being deceived, what's worse is that you were deceived by someone you love.
Forgiveness isn’t about letting someone off the hook, condoning what they did, or accepting the betrayal and “letting it slide”. Forgiveness isn’t for them, forgiveness is for you.
When you forgive someone you’re making a decision to release the feelings of indignation and vengeance you’ve been carrying around since they hurt you.
There are many different ways someone can break your heart.
It doesn’t have to be your intimate partner either. Family, close friends, even your children can break your heart.
A lot of the time people don't deserve your forgiveness.
Depending on the circumstances you could be justified in having nothing but contempt for that person and for what they did.
Once again, forgiveness is for you, not them. You don’t have to speak to them or say “I forgive you”.
Forgiveness is a personal process.
It’s about deleveraging your mind and emotions from a painful event and reinstalling an open heart, a clear conscience, and an abundance of self-love.
How Do You Truly Forgive Someone?
1. Accept It's Time To Move On
If you’re holding onto the past you’re also holding onto the pain of the past.
That pain is like a weight around your neck that you carry with you in the present and into the future.
Emotional baggage and personal pain cloud your judgment and contaminate your present state.
Even when you say things are good, the pain still lingers.
It stays beneath the surface, weighing you down and preventing you from being fully present and “in” the moment.
How can you be in the moment when emotionally you’re still in the past?
It’s time to make a decision.
That decision is that you’re not going to let that person who betrayed you poison your mind and emotions any longer.
Instead of holding onto pain and hurt you’re going to embrace self-love, wisdom, and inner strength.
Leave your past experience where it is, in the past. It’s time to move on.
2. Get to Know Yourself Again
The number one most important thing you need to focus on right now is you.
Emotional pain and everything that goes along with it clouds your mind and distracts you from other important areas of your life.
Getting reacquainted with yourself means forgetting for a moment about them, about what happened, and how hurt you feel.
Your priority right now is you.
Spending time alone is less and less common these days. People can’t be away from their phone or their social media for more than a few minutes without feeling uncomfortable.
But right now, you need to be alone with your thoughts.
Treat yourself well, do something nice for the sole purpose of personal pleasure and gratification.
This is a time to restore your self-respect and confidence.
Right now you’re probably thinking about how they broke your heart, but could you, if you really tried, move your focus away from that and back onto your well being?
Treating yourself with dignity and worth, being proud of who you are, and having certainty you’ll overcome your pain, helps put things into a new perspective.It might feel bad right now, but it's not that bad. You still have yourself.
3. Take Ownership For Your Life
The majority of the time when things happen “to” us, in some way, somehow, we allowed it to happen.
Maybe you were too trusting, ignoring red flags that warned you something wasn’t right.
You may have simply allowed another persona to take advantage of you with little regard for your feelings.
This isn’t to say it’s your fault. Nothing’s your fault, but it is your responsibility.
Why/how did you allow this person to break your heart in the first place?
Could you have acted in a way that left you less vulnerable to being hurt and experiencing the pain you now feel?
This is an important step in your forgiveness and recovery process.
You can’t control the actions of another person or what their intentions are towards you.
But you can control what you allow to affect you, and how vulnerable you leave yourself to being hurt and experiencing emotional pain in the future.
4. Let It Go
Saying “let it go” sounds oversimplified and even a little trite.
When you’re in the midst of an emotional storm, hurt, sad, and suffering the last thing you want to hear is someone saying “just let it go”.
But think about what it means. As long as you’re hurting you’re holding onto the pain of the experience.
Stop holding on. Release it. Let it go.
Letting it go doesn’t mean you’re forgetting about it or saying how you feel isn’t important.
It just means you’re not willing to allow pain and sadness to control you anymore.
Your feelings and opinions about the person who broke your heart might not change, and the disappointment in yourself you feel for allowing it to happen will still be there.
What you’re letting go of is the paralysing effect that your negative emotions have on you.
By letting go you’re taking back your power, you’re taking back control.
5. Talk About It
Talking about painful experiences has an almost miraculous effect.
When you take what you’ve been storing up inside and get it all out, articulating your feelings and thoughts, your emotional pain starts to lighten up.
Men in society are particularly prone to holding onto pain and sadness and trying to deal with it themselves.
It’s no coincidence that in the western world, on average, male suicide rates for men are three times higher than female suicide rates. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_in_Australia).
Firstly you need to talk to someone you trust, respect, and who will be empathetic while at the same time give you constructive and honest feedback.
When you are talking about your feelings, keep it on you.
Don’t start blaming or talking about the person that hurt you or how much you hate them or anything like that. All of that is irrelevant.
Talk about how you feel, your experience, and what your plan is to move forward with your life.
6. Find a Silver Lining
The emotions you feel in any event stem from how you frame the event. Let me explain.
If someone you love breaks your heart you can frame the experience as you not being worthy, life as you know it is now over, and that you’ll never find anyone and you’ll be alone forever.
You could also frame the event as a blessing in disguise.
You could be glad it happened because that person wasn’t the one for you anyway.
If they were they wouldn’t have treated you that way. While the experience is still painful, you’re glad it happened because you’re free.
That example might sound extreme, but it shows there are no absolutes.
What things mean depends on the meaning you give to them.
Being able to reframe your experiences so they help you rather than hurt you could be one of the most valuable life skills anyone could learn.
7. Focus On Your Future
When you’re emotionally chained to the past and you’re carrying it with you in the present, you miss the most important thing, your future.
What’s done can’t be changed, but you can change.
You can decide right now, even as you’re reading these lines, that you’re not going to do it anymore.
You’re not going to let your pain and hurt define you.
You won't let your past experiences of betrayal and heartbreak inhibit your ability to love, or your self-perception to be anything less than an exceptional human being who deserves the best life has to offer.
Your future is a blank canvas and the paintbrush is in your hand. In 6 months, you’ll look back on all this and be glad that it happened.
If someone betrayed you or broke your heart that’s their loss not yours.
Forget about them and focus on your future.
Quotes About How To Forgive Someone Who Broke Your Heart
“Every time your heart is broken, a doorway cracks open to a world full of new beginnings, new opportunities.” – Patti Roberts
“Sometimes it takes a heartbreak to shake us awake and help us see we are worth so much more than we’re settling for.” – Mandy Hale
“A broken heart in real life isn’t half as dreadful as it is in books. […] It takes spells of aching and gives you a sleepless night now and then, but between times it lets you enjoy life and dreams as if there were nothing the matter with it.” – L.M. Montgomery
“The hardest thing you can do is smile when you are ill, in pain, or depressed. But this no-cost remedy is a necessary first half-step if you are to start on the road to recovery.” – Allen Klein
“A broken heart is just the growing pains necessary so that you can love more completely when the real thing comes along.” – J.S.B. Morse“The best way to heal a broken heart, it turns out, is to find a way to move past the hurt.” – Mary Kay Andrews