It is the hardest thing in the world to forgive someone who has wronged us. We fill ourselves up with the negative feelings left over when someone fails us or hurts us through their words, actions, or inactions. Holding grudges can breed distrust, creates animosity, and prevents us from moving on. While we know it is important to forgive, how do we forgive someone and move forward?

Many religions and philosophical beliefs discuss the importance of forgiveness. Having been raised in a Christian home, we were taught about forgiveness as one of the foundational beliefs of our faith. The problem is, no one tells you how to forgive. What steps do you take to forgive? How will you know that you have succeeded in forgiving?

In this episode we explore the importance of forgiveness, some of the situations we have found ourselves in where forgiveness was needed, and how we moved on. When I was recently wronged, I found myself slipping into anger and animosity towards the person who had wronged me. I felt angry and let the feeling build to the point where my health was affected. My blood pressure was up, I had to struggle to keep my voice level and my words controlled around this person. It took me a few days to realize that this person wasn’t feeling any of the anger that I was holding. Hell. He wasn’t even aware that he had done anything wrong.

It was at this point that I realized that holding onto the anger didn’t really hurt him at this point. It wouldn’t make the situation better and wouldn’t change his attitude. It was a hard pill to swallow. I was keeping the negative feelings alive for me and hurting myself in the process. It was at this point that I realized that in order to forgive, I had to confront the issue I had with this person and let go of the anger that had built up. At this point, I decided to let go of my anger, give voice to my concerns and then walk away from the situation.

Letting go of the anger meant accepting that what had happened could not be undone. It meant that I had to understand where my feelings were coming from. Holding a grudge over something, no matter how big or small only hurts you in the long run. The person you have a beef with may never even know that you are angry with them. To truly let go, write your thoughts down and organize them. Express them and then walk away from the feelings. You have voiced them. You are free from them and it is up to the offending party for how they take your feelings and behave moving forward.

Once you have let go of your feelings, you must be careful not to let them back in. If another situation comes up, you don’t want the negativity affecting how you react with someone else. In terms of relationships, you don’t want to start seeing everyone else as possible offenders to the point where you can never fully trust someone. Don’t forget the past but put it into context. The wrong that was done was done then, by someone else, at a different time is not necessarily going to happen with the next person to come into your life. You are free to grow past grudges and bad times. Then you will truly be able to be free from the negativity of that one negative experience.