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Weekly Doses of Pop-up Psych

We all make cringey mistakes and deserve to move on, rather than feel confused or regretful after an icky social situation. Each week, I will dissect a murky social, life cycle, or pop culture topic to help you understand, learn, and move on. As a former academic, I am a super-picky consumer of research (and you should be too) as well as the content I create and share, so those new solutions, data and/or additional resources have certainly met my approval.

Why You Need to Forgive Other People and How to Do It (For Yourself and not for them)

Nobody is perfect. It could have been unintentional, but you were the Target of someone’s low moment and got completely wronged in the process.  You feel a range of lousy emotions: anger, sadness, shame, anxiety, regret, and might even start to slip into a depression. When someone suggests you forgive the Instigator, you can’t help but respond the following: 

  • “Why should I forgive him/her/them?”

  • “He/She/They don’t deserve my forgiveness” 

  • “I’ll never be able to forgive him/her/them for that”

  • “Why should he/she/they get away with that?”

Forgiving other people for their sake is misinformation. 

 

Whether it’s a stranger or loved one, the journey to forgiveness can be long, bumpy, and slippery, but not impossible. Overall, the ability to forgive was related to better physical and mental health and that lack of forgiveness contributed towards issues such as anxiety, heart disease, diabetes, and depression. It is entirely for you, since you are the one who deserves to live peacefully and sleep well at night. 

 

You should forgive because you might never get an apology

 

Carrying around negative emotions is like wearing a necklace of potatoes around your neck is a heavy and painful burden. Your Instigator might not feel remorseful enough to apologize or think you deserved whatever they dished out to you. Alternatively, you might have been ghosted, had an incident a stranger, or with someone who is deceased, so that “I’m sorry” will never come. Forgiving them is like releasing the weight of those potatoes hanging around your neck that is weighing and choking you.

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You should forgive because if frees you of negativity

 

Do you want to continue to wear that heavy necklace of potatoes?  Forgiveness removes that burden of heavy emotions. Since the Instigator is living their life and completely unaffected by your anger and hurt, why should you be trapped in a dark space?  You can’t heal if you are saddled down with negativity.

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You should forgive because it helps you heal

 

To forgive doesn’t mean to forget, but everyone deserves to heal and move on. Healing involves confronting messy emotions, having difficult conversations, and dousing oneself with immense self-care during this vulnerable time.

How to forgive someone

 

Mean people usually come from a place of pain. Healthy people want to help and heal others.When well-intended people make mistakes or hurt others, they typically make amends in a timely manner. 

 

You can forgive someone by dumping your negative emotions

 

Release those negative emotions.  Whether it’s by writing in a journal, confiding in a friend, or working with a therapist, purge yourself of those toxic feelings. Holding them in will make them fester into something bigger or manifest into a physical health issue, so let them go.

 

You can forgive someone by empathizing with them

 

Understanding someone else’s perspective helps with the process of forgiveness. You are not forgetting, but understanding the motivation of their actions. It does not erase the consequences of the incident, but give them grace for being humans who made a mistake.

 

You can forgive someone by distancing yourself from them

 

You need space, time, and a break from the other person to heal.  This includes staying away from their social media accounts. Forgiveness is a personal process that requires time work through all the emotions, since it should not be automatic.  You need to work through what is going on inside of you without any distractions from he/she/them.


At the end of the day, we are all human who need to be forgive and to be forgiven. If we have been “wronged”, give someone the grace you hope you would receive. Who do you need to forgive?

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