Christie Inge

Master Energy Healer & Intuitive Guide

How To Forgive Someone Who Hurt You

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At this point in my life, I genuinely believe that learning how to forgive someone who hurt you is one of the most potent things you can do for your well-being. When we hang onto anger, it festers inside and creates all sorts of imbalances in our system.

I’m sure you’ve heard the quote:

Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

And, it’s true. Anger lets us know that our boundaries have been threatened or crossed but when we hold onto it, instead of restoring our boundaries, it festers inside and manifests as inflammation, misdirected rage, and even acts of violence.

That truth doesn’t necessarily make it easy to forgive someone who hurt you.

In fact, sometimes, it can seem like forgiveness means that you are condoning shitty behavior, that you “deserved” whatever hurt you experienced, or that you don’t have a right to your boundaries.

But, that isn’t what forgiveness is really about.

When you forgive someone that hurt you, what you are actually doing is accessing the wisdom inside of your anger, integrating that wisdom into your life, and then, CHOOSING to let the anger go. In some cases, it can even mean that you find gratitude for the situation, just as it was, and use it as fuel for your values, intentions, and goals.

When you forgive someone who hurt you, you set yourself free.

Similar to fear, anger is a survival instinct. It alerts us to threats and/or violations of our boundaries. By practicing forgiveness, we soothe the “high alert” system in our brains, which calms the nervous systems and reduces stress.

You’ll also create stronger relationships. Now, that doesn’t mean that you have to maintain an active relationship with the person you are forgiving. In fact, in some cases, the healthiest way to have a relationship with someone is no contact.

But, either way, forgiveness will have a ripple effect in all of your relationships. You’ll find it easier to set boundaries and to do so with love and compassion.

In the end,  forgiveness is the antidote to the anger we feel towards others and it can even teach us how to forgive ourselves. 
So, without further ado, let’s jump into the nitty-gritty.

How To Forgive Someone Who Hurt You

The following process is a guideline for forgiveness with linear steps. But, please do know that forgiveness isn’t always linear. Forgiveness is a deep process that takes time and patience so don’t try to rush.  And, as always, please do these practices in sacred space. In some cases, you may even need to work through this with a counselor or therapist. 

1. Set an intention to forgive the person.

Here are some example intentions you might like to work with:

  • I choose to forgive {INSERT PERSON’s NAME}.
  • I forgive {INSERT PERSON’s NAME}.
  • I am willing to forgive {INSERT PERSON’s NAME}.
  • I open to forgiveness for {INSERT PERSON’s NAME}.
  • I offer {INSERT PERSON’s NAME} grace and forgiveness.

Play around with the wording until it feels “right.”

2. Begin to explore the unresolved emotions that linger about whatever happened with that person.

To do this, you may want to write about it in your journal, or with a trusted friend or counselor. In particular, you want to look for the following emotions:

  • anger
  • frustration
  • irritation
  • pissed off
  • rage
  • resentment
  • hostile
  • bitter
  • disgusted
  • hatred

(You can find a full list of anger related terms in The Language of Emotions.)

3. Offer yourself compassion for experiencing those feelings. 

One of the things that can happen on your journey to forgive someone who hurt you is that you will start to get upset with yourself for feeling the things you do.

You get mad at yourself for being mad. Or you feel guilty for the thoughts you think about that person. In order to truly forgive, you must offer yourself compassion.

4. Feel the feeling in your body.

For many people, this is often the hardest part. The real reason they can’t forgive is that they haven’t actually processed the emotion in their body.

Instead, what they do is ruminate on it in their minds or turn to bad habits to avoid the feelings.

Where is the emotion in your body?

What does it feel like? (Use words like tight, tense, heavy instead of long sentences. Long sentences indicate thoughts, not feelings.)

What happens when you allow the feeling to just be there?

5. Identify the wisdom of the anger.

As I mentioned before, all forms of anger are alerting you to boundaries that have been crossed or violated. So, ask yourself:

What boundary was violated or crossed?

6. Integrate the wisdom of the anger.

Once you know the boundary, what needs to happen in order for you to restore healthy boundaries for yourself?

Do you need to have a conversation?

Do you need to reclaim your power?

Do you need to part ways?

In what ways do you need to advocate for yourself?

In some cases, especially if you were abused or assaulted it may seem like you can’t restore the boundary. That is another reason we hang onto anger, it feels like the anger is the only thing we can do.

But the anger itself doesn’t resolve anything, integrating the wisdom of the anger, does.

So, if that is the case for you, think about how you might use this knowledge for setting and honoring your boundaries, as you move forward, in conscious ways?

7. Find the humanity in what happened.

Remember when I said forgiveness isn’t always easy? The previous steps are challenging. But this step can be down-right hard because it gets into shadow work.

Here’s the thing:

As humans, we have twelve universal needs that drive all action. In fact:

Every action is an attempt to meet a need. Our behaviors are always a clue about what we really need. 

Unfortunately, though, we live in a culture that encourages us to ignore our needs and feelings. Which means we live in a world full of people who don’t know how to get their needs met in healthy ways.

And when we don’t know how to meet our needs in sustainable and satisfying ways, we do all sorts of crazy shit.

That doesn’t make us “bad” people; it makes us human.

If you want that to be true about you, it’s true about them, too. 

When we recognize this very human truth, it creates softness, compassion, and sometimes even empathy towards the other person.

And those feelings are the doorway into forgiveness.

So, the goal of this step is to identify the needs they might have been attempting to meet with their actions. And, without judgment, see if you can identify with their behavior.

Was there a time when you did things you weren’t proud of because of your unconscious needs?

Are there circumstances in which you can see yourself behaving exactly the same way?

Can you forgive yourself for those times?

Allow yourself to really feel into the truth of your answers because this is where the gold is.

Remember, forgiveness is FOR YOU, not for them.

8. Consciously offer them forgiveness. 

Once you have tapped into a sense of compassion for them, it’s time to consciously choose forgiveness. This can be as simple as stating, out loud:

I forgive you, {INSERT PERSON’s NAME}.

You do not have to say it to them. This proclamation is for you to move forward with the awareness that you are choosing to forgive.

9. Find the benefits of the experience. 

Take a look a the big picture of your life and the places that this experience led you. Ask yourself:

What have been the benefits of that experiences?

What have I learned as a result of that experience?

What amazing thing wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t experienced that?

What are you grateful for here?

Like the rest of this process, the goal isn’t to force yourself into feeling grateful. So, it if feels hard at first, this can be a sign that there is still some processing to do from the previous steps. Take a few days off and then revisit and see how it feels.

If the answers do come naturally and you genuinely feel a sense of gratitude, celebration, appreciation, etc., allow yourself to be fully present with those feelings, too.

Let yourself RECEIVE the gifts of this work.

10. Repeat as needed. 

The truth is, as humans, our brains are wired to be efficient and have lots of grooves called neuropathways. What that means is that, just like self-love and self-acceptance, forgiveness isn’t a one and done process.

You may still experience moments where anger returns and in those moments, you must consciously CHOOSE forgiveness.

Remember the work you’ve done here and, if necessary, take it even deeper. Look at it from new angles and perspectives and keep CHOOSING forgiveness.

My hope is that this process helps give you clarity about how to forgive someone who hurt you. 

It is definitely challenging work. But, the benefits of forgiveness are undeniable and I know that you will feel so much lighter when you CHOOSE forgiveness.

I'm Christie Inge.

I’m a foul-mouthed Fairy Godmother for creative rebels who are committed to making a difference in the world by being themselves

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