Would you say you find it hard to forgive people? Can you recall times in your life when you’ve thought to yourself, ‘Why should I be the one to give in first?’
The thing is - as we go through our life, it’s kind of inevitable that we’re going to come across people who will require our forgiveness one way or the other, from the guy who cuts you up whilst driving, to the girl who cuts you off after you’ve been on hold with O2 for 30 minutes…..let’s be honest, there isn’t going to be a shortage of people out there who aren’t really treating us the way we want to be treated!
The biggest question you’re probably asking is why should I forgive?
First of all, keep in mind that it’s generally in your best interest to forgive people. Choosing to carry a grudge forever keeps you from ever repairing the relationship. Long after you’ve forgotten what the other person actually did, you’re still focused on being mad at them because you’re stuck in that habit. It’s very easy to blow something way out of proportion because you think too much about what went wrong instead of how to make it right. Don’t be too attached to your anger.
Just because you might be justified in being mad, doesn’t mean it’s your best option.
How can you forgive others?
To be able to forgive others, it’s helpful to understand their point of view, where they’re coming from. Sometimes we make assumptions that someone must be a jerk to act a certain way, when there might be factors we aren’t considering.
The person who cut you up in traffic? Maybe they were racing to the hospital. Maybe they were late to an interview for a job that they really need. Maybe they swerved to avoid someone else….who knows!
The person who put you on hold and then cut you off? Maybe they were severely understaffed because some people were sick that day. Maybe they were trying to track down the perfect person to solve your problem. Maybe their phone system malfunctioned and you got cut off.
In many cases, the person who wronged you might have acted completely out of character for some reason, and they might truly be sorry. It’s also possible that they don’t even know they did anything wrong! Try not to make assumptions, and just talk to them instead.
The hardest part is forgiving yourself.
Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is yourself. If someone else makes a mistake, we’re more objective about it, and we can see that they really did the best they could. If we make the same mistake, it’s a lot harder to be objective. We think back over all the details and see how many things we could have done differently. Other people might say it’s OK, but how do you appease your own toughest critic?
Is there anyone you need to forgive today?