Exploring Forgiveness (with journal prompts)
Feeling hurt, ignored, or disrespected by someone we care about can not only ruin our day, it can leave us spinning in uncertainties of "why?"or "what did I do?". And while processing negative situations/experiences can take time and talking through, a question remains that can feel really tricky: should you forgive them?
One of the main reasons that this question feels so complicated, is because it is.
Occasionally someone causes us so much pain that there is no other option than to remove them from our lives, but it is rarely this black and white. Instead, it usually feels like we are swimming in a sea of gray and no matter which path we choose forward, there are big considerations and even consequences.
Here's some truth. While there is not going to be a neon sign telling you the best way to move forward- the key to choosing the best next step is to be really in tune with yourself. The reason it can feel so complicated to decide how to proceed with forgiveness is because we are juggling considerations about what other's would want, what will keep the peace, and what is best long-term- when the real question we should be asking is:
What is best for me?
I know it feels super uncomfortable to take a step back from considering others when that is our go-to. And I know that it is your go-to. Because you're a caring, kind-hearted, awesome person!
Yet, do you know what I can safely say doesn't work in any form of relationship (romantic, professional, friendships, familial etc.)? Making decisions that don't align with us authentically in an attempt to keep the peace or please others.
So, what the heck do you do?!
I invite you to set aside a little time to be really intentional about how you choose to proceed. Whether it feels good to write out your thoughts or process them in your mind- please feel free to use any of the below prompts that you find helpful to navigate forward:
What do I find most painful about this situation/experience?
Does this person have a history of causing me hurt?
Is this tapping into any old wounds/ past hurt outside of this relationship- if so, what?
What would I gain from forgiving this person and moving forward?
What would it cost me to forgive this person and move forward?
How will I know if my decision is in-line with my authentic self/ needs/ beliefs?
Meredith Waller MSW, LCSW
Based in Boulder, CO and offering online counseling throughout Colorado
-Certified Shame-Informed Treatment Specialist
-Certified Clinical Anxiety Treatment Professional