Forgiveness is something that must be created. If done thoughtfully and effectively, it will transform the way you think, feel, and live your life. Approaching the challenge with an “I can do that” attitude will motivate you to face the challenge. By taking action, changing your thoughts, shifting your emotions and seeking guidance from numerous valuable sources you will know how to forgive others, and yourself.
[Edit]Making the Decision
Consider why you want to forgive this person. Forgiveness is a decision that should be made thoughtfully, especially if someone did something seriously wrong. Take time to think through your feelings and your reasoning, to better understand the situation.
You want to resolve your own feelings of anger, confusion, or hurt.
You value your relationship with them, and believe that forgiving them is worth it.
They’ve shown a willingness to change their behavior, and you want to try again.
Pay attention to whether they’re willing to change their behavior. Have you given them the chance to change, by letting them know their actions hurt you? If so, are they working to adjust their behavior, or are they doing it again without caring how it’s affecting you?
For example, say that your sister made fun of your nose, and you told her that it hurt your feelings. Pay attention to whether she does it again.
Choose to forgive because you want to, not because you have to. Forgiveness should be chosen freely, not reluctantly or under pressure. Forgiveness is a choice that you make for yourself, so don’t let other people’s ideas of what you “should” do pressure you into doing something that feels premature or just not right.
If you aren’t ready to forgive someone, you don’t have to do it yet. If anyone pressures you, say “I’m not ready to forgive yet.”
You do not owe forgiveness to anyone else. If you do not want to forgive them, that is your choice.
Recognize the difference between forgiveness and foolishness. You may choose to forgive someone once, twice, or three times. But if they are repeatedly and knowingly hurting you, or if they have done something extremely terrible, then you should consider protecting yourself. If someone has shown that they will mistreat you again and again, or that they are willing to do you serious harm, then you need to protect your own well-being.
For example, you can forgive an abusive father and choose not to talk to him ever again, because you know he would mistreat you.
For example, if your girlfriend yells at you and then apologizes and says she’s working on controlling her temper, then you might decide to forgive her and continue dating her. If your girlfriend screams horrible abuse at you, or hits you, then you need to protect yourself and escape the relationship.
When in doubt, take your time. Sometimes, it takes a while to untangle all your feelings and figure out what to do. That’s okay. Give yourself time and space to process.
Write in a journal about it.
Talk to a mentor or trusted person about the situation.
Express your feelings through artwork.
Spend some time focusing on something else, and come back later.[Edit]Taking Action
Reach out to connect. As life gets busy, it is difficult to stay in touch with friends. When a conflict has occurred to push people apart, that connection becomes even harder to salvage. If you want to forgive someone, then take the first step in the process by reaching out. This act alone will help you to feel more open and optimistic.
It is always difficult to take the first step, and sometimes you need to give yourself a push. Simply tell yourself, “Here we go,” and pick up the phone and make contact.
Ask to be heard. Whether you decide to set up a face-to-face meeting with the person, or communicate via telephone or electronic device, the goal is the same: ask the person for time to express your thoughts and feelings about the conflict.
Assure the person that you are open and willing to hear what she has to say as well. This will allow the person to feel more open about the forthcoming discussion.
If the person refuses to meet with you, do not despair. There are things you can do to move toward forgiveness regardless of whether the person complies. The act of forgiveness is designed to help you in the end. For example, use writing instead of direct contact to express your feelings and thoughts about the person. Writing in a journal helps to process your feelings and is effective.
Journaling can help reduce anxiety and stress, as it is a healthy outlet for confusing or overwhelming emotions.
Discuss the issue. Some discussions in life are harder to have than others. When a conflict has occurred and negative feelings have grown, it is difficult to start the conversation. The goal would be to frame the conversation and guide it toward a peaceful resolution to manage the hurt and disappointment you are feeling.
First, thank the person for meeting with you.
Second, tell the person your goal is to hear each other’s side of the story and come to some peaceful resolution so you both can move on.
Third, tell your side of the story. Make “I” statements to describe your thoughts and feelings, without making accusations.
Fourth, ask the person if there is anything else you can clarify for him before he provides the details of his side of the story.
Fifth, ask the person questions that will give you the necessary information to understand his intent, motives, thoughts and feelings.
Apologize for your own mistakes. Most every conflict involves a misunderstanding or misconception of what someone did or said. There are things that you must do to loosen the tension in the situation. Taking responsibility for your role is an act that fosters the open communication that you want, and is necessary to reach a resolution.
Accept the apology. If you have discussed the situation and the person has extended a sincere apology, then accept it. Even if you have to force yourself to say the words, “I accept your apology,” this is a large step toward creating a sense of forgiveness for yourself. Here are some examples of things you could say:
“I accept your apology, and I forgive you.”
“I appreciate you saying that. Friends?”
“Thank you for apologizing. I don’t know if I’m ready to forgive you yet, but I will work on it. Please give me some time.”
Show your willingness to move on. If you must or want to maintain a relationship with this person, then your behaviors must demonstrate that you are serious. Your relationship will improve when you go through the process of forgiveness. This includes not holding grudges and bringing up the past. It also includes your willingness to laugh and be lighthearted around the person. Moving past a conflict is a huge relief. Let that motivate your actions toward being fair-minded and resolved.
As time passes and progress is made, you may notice you are still allowing feelings of betrayal to affect the way you treat the person. Perhaps it happens during heated arguments or discussions. You may not have processed your hurt feelings and still have some work to do. This is a normal reaction and can be managed by talking about your feelings with the person involved, or someone else.[Edit]Changing Your Thoughts and Emotions
Practice empathy and compassion. Both empathy and compassion can be learned. As with any new skill, you need to practice. If you are able to treat people the way you would like to be treated, you are more than half-way there.
Take the opportunity to practice compassion when out in public. If you see someone struggling getting into the doorway of a store, rush to open it. If you see someone that looks like she is having a bad day, smile and say hello. Your goal is to allow others to feel the impact of your good deeds.
Expand your empathy by talking and, most importantly, listening to people outside your social circle. Try to strike up a conversation with a stranger once a week. Go beyond small talk and try to (respectfully) inquire about their lives and experiences. This will broaden your worldview and help you become more understanding of others.
Work on understanding the person’s behavior. Fear, insecurities and an inability to communicate are the impetus of many hurtful behaviors. Some people don’t understand why they act certain ways because they have not explored the deeper inner-workings of their own behavior. Try to see if you can understand where they are coming from.
If you don’t understand someone’s behavior, you may be able to ask them why they acted the way they did. You could also talk to a trusted mentor, or even do a little research on why people act that way.
Remember that even if you understand the person’s reasons, that doesn’t mean they have an excuse for acting badly.
Keep in mind that you’re not responsible for someone else’s feelings or behavior. You can’t make them become a better person. Sometimes, you need to be willing to tell yourself “here they go again” or “their attitude is not my problem.”
Question and adjust your perspective. You have probably been holding strong beliefs about a situation in which you were wronged by someone. Many times a person’s perspective is askew and needs to return to a balanced state. It is important to keep things in perspective, especially if yours is causing you harm.
Is this important? Will I care about it 6 months or 6 years from now?
Is this worth my time?
Could I be jumping to conclusions? Could there be circumstances I’m not aware of?
Is this issue important to me, or should I just let it go?
Are my feelings or behavior holding me back from better things?
Try moving from resentment to gratitude. Over time, work on letting go of resentment, and looking for the upsides to the situation. Strong feelings are natural at first, but they can become toxic if you hold onto them forever. If you catch yourself falling into a trap of negativity, work on finding the good parts. This can help you reframe things and feel more positively about your life. Here are some examples:
“I’m glad that I’ve finally finished the semester, so I don’t have to deal with that difficult professor again. She is not my problem anymore.”
“I’m thankful that my dad and my therapist are supporting me while I leave this abusive relationship.”
“I’m glad that my mom was willing to listen and take me seriously when I said her criticism was damaging our relationship. I hope this will the start of a positive change.”
“I’m so happy that I have another chance to find love after I left behind a bad relationship.”
“I’m glad that I get another chance with my boyfriend, and that he’s making an effort to change his habits to treat me better. Things can become better than they were.”
“I don’t regret cutting contact with my toxic father. I’m so much happier now that he’s not part of my life.”
Make a list of the benefits of letting go of resentment. Think about how feelings of resentment might be shaping your life now, and how letting go could change things. Here are some things you might consider for the list:
I can stop lying awake in bed, playing and replaying imaginary conversations in my head. Instead, I’ll just sleep.
I can stop feeling like a victim, and start feeling empowered to control my own life.
I can say goodbye to a bad chapter of my life, and start focusing on creating a good one.
I can focus less on this person’s past mistakes, and focus more on rebuilding a stronger relationship.
I can remember what happened without feeling helpless, and use the knowledge of what went wrong to help me spot and avoid similar problems in the future.
Be patient with yourself. Especially if what happened was serious, then forgiveness might not be instantaneous. This is okay. Keep working on handling your feelings and taking care of yourself. Don’t let other people, or any preconceived notions in your head, push you into doing something you aren’t ready for. Try saying these to yourself, or to anyone who tries to pry:
“I’m working on moving on, but I’m not there yet.”
“I need time to process.”
“I need time to work through my feelings. It’s okay to take my time.”
“I’m allowed to feel hurt.”
“Forgiveness can’t be rushed. It needs to happen in its own time.”
Engage in fun activities. You can learn to let go by rediscovering your playful side. When you play it allows you to be free from the negative thoughts you harbor about a conflict. Play and laughter can help you remain positive and optimistic through difficult situations. Schedule time in your calendar at least once a week to play and have fun.
Fly a kite
Try messing around with a new art form
Play with a pet
Hang out with friends
Play a board game with loved ones
Do something that you always wanted to try when you were younger, but didn’t get to
Diffuse your anger. Remaining in a state of anger and upset is unhealthy. Processing feelings of anger through physical activity or artistic expression are good alternatives for reducing anger, stress and anxiety. Anger must be released to move you toward feeling forgiveness. Here are some ideas:
Exercise: run, hike, lift weights, etc.
Express yourself through art
Rip up paper from the recycling bin
Throw ice cubes into a bathtub to smash them
Draw an angry picture and rip it up
Rebuild trust. When we let others into our lives we take a risk. Those same people can betray the trust that you have built together. An essential part of the forgiveness process is allowing someone to earn back your trust.
Allow the person to show you they are reliable, truthful, and sincere.  Create opportunities for the person to show you. When you give a little, you may receive many positive rewards in return.
For example, consider accepting the person’s invitation to go to the movies. This allows the person the opportunity to show up on time, treat you with respect and have a good time. Without your willingness to accept the invitation, you would not be witness to their sincere efforts to earn your trust.
Consider rebuilding trust in a way directly related to the harm done. For example, if they lied about where they went, have them check in by calling or texting so they can tell you where they are.
Remember to acknowledge when someone is making an effort to earn your trust. Consider thanking them for any efforts they make.
Appreciate the learning experiences. People and opportunities come into your life to teach you something. Each experience prepares us to be smarter and more in tune with what we want out of life. We learn from the good and the bad.
“I learned that it’s not always a good idea to give a loan to friends, because it can hurt the relationship.”
“I learned that not everyone is as careful with things as I am, so I should probably not lend treasured items to people who tend to break things.”
“I’ve learned to interview potential roommates, so I can make sure that our lifestyles are a decent match.”
“I learned to assume ignorance before malice. Sometimes people don’t realize they’re hurting my feelings.”
“I learned that I can count on my dad to have my back during a crisis.”
“I learned that I’m stronger than I thought I was.”[Edit]Seeking Help
Find a therapist if you’re struggling to cope. If you are having difficulty forgiving someone and it is impacting your life in a negative way, perhaps it is time to seek professional help from a counselor or therapist. Therapies intended to promote forgiveness have been successful in helping people overcome past hurts and achieve peace and resolution.
Obtain a referral or suggestion from your physician, health insurance company, or a trusted family member or friend. However, if that is not feasible, contact your local department of mental health about counseling options.
If you feel you and your therapist are not a good fit, look for a different therapist. Every therapist is different and finding one with whom you feel comfortable is essential.
Try a therapist who practices cognitive behavioral therapy. Your therapist will help examine and dispel the negative thought patterns that you have developed.
Consider spiritual counseling. Many people find comfort in seeking help from spiritual leaders who can guide them toward forgiveness. The power of prayer has been successful toward healing and alleviating feelings of guilt and shame, which are motivators for people seeking forgiveness for various reason.
Set therapeutic goals for yourself. Commit to changing your behavior. In both psychotherapy and physical therapy, you will benefit from setting goals. Engage in the process by allowing yourself to be open and vulnerable. Don’t abandon the process just because it gets difficult. Your hard work will pay off and leave you with a healthy sense of accomplishment.
Identify your objectives. For example, would you like to feel more at peace toward a family member who betrayed you? Tell the therapist that this is one of your goals.
Reward yourself when you reach your goal. Your motivation will increase if you reward your accomplishments.
Adjust your objectives rather than give up.
Continue to make new goals as it will keep you engaged in life.
Enhance your support system. Surround yourself with people who care about you. This includes family, friends, and co-workers. Branch out and meet new people to expand your circle of support. You have learned so much through the therapeutic process that you feel resourceful and confident. A good support system will help you reduce stress and may even boost your immune system.
Exploring your interests may lead to joining groups that allow you to meet new people, and experience new situations.
Forgive and accept yourself. Personal struggles can leave you feeling bad about yourself. You may feel guilty for not taking care of yourself in a situation or you unfairly blame yourself for what happened. You can learn to manage feelings of guilt and shame rather than try to eliminate them.
If you have chosen to participate in cognitive behavior therapy, it will help you examine your thoughts and develop new more effective ways of thinking about yourself.[Edit]Tips
Sometimes it helps to think of how others have forgiven under incredible circumstances. Ask friends for support and examples to motivate you toward forgiveness.
Studies have shown that forgiveness depends upon whether a person believes they must have an interaction with the offender.  You can decide if that is necessary for you to achieve forgiveness.
It is never too late, if you are willing, to seek professional help for your issues. Change is not easy, but it is possible if you are willing to put in the effort and find ways of coping with your challenges.
Licensed therapists are trained to help others learn to manage the struggles that are impacting their lives.
Being honest and sincere when apologizing increases the chances that a person will be forgiven.
If you served in military combat and witnessed acts that were not in line with your morals, you will benefit from gaining the skill of self-forgiveness through therapeutic interventions.
Put your best mental energies (perhaps first thing in the morning) into visualizing the new life you want. See yourself in the future as free of this pain and suffering.
Remember you’re not perfect either, and empathise with why the person might have done what he did[Edit]Warnings
Certain mental illnesses hinder a person’s capacity to forgive. A psychopath may never experience shame or guilt for an offense, which are two factors that motivate forgiveness.
Unconditional forgiveness is not predicated on any act or request from the offender. The act of forgiveness is intended to free you from the rage, depression, and despair that nursing a grievance causes.
Forgiveness is hard, but living with a grudge is even harder. Keeping grudges bottled up can be very dangerous, and can hurt people in ways you might not have imagined.[Edit]Related wikiHows
Accept an Apology
Forgive a Cheater
Recognize a Controlling Person
Identify Emotional Abuse
Forgive Yourself After Hurting Someone
Become Positive Through Forgiveness
Let Go of Past Hurts[Edit]References
[Edit]Quick Summary↑ http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-health-benefits-of-journaling/