If you don’t forgive, you carry grudges with you and that just creates negativity and bad feeling. That's why everyone needs to know some ways to be a good forgiver. Those bad feelings make relationships difficult, whether it’s with friends, lovers or work colleagues. Forgiveness is a conscious decision. You have to think about it and take action. These ways to be a good forgiver not only make you a better person, but also help you move forward with less baggage.
1. Don’t Wait for an Apology That Might Never Come
You might feel you deserve an apology or you might have received a sorry that didn’t exactly come across as being heartfelt. These are times when you have to forgive. Waiting for weak or non-existent apologies just waste energy. Write it off as a mistake by the injuring party. Accepting an apology, even a less than heartfelt one, is one of the best ways to be a good forgiver.
2. Give the Benefit of the Doubt
Everyone makes mistakes. If you take the position that the person who hurt you didn’t have the intention of doing so, it is easier to accept it was a mistake and move on. The benefit of the doubt can diffuse many situations and also stems a tide of resentment and ill-feeling that will continue if you don’t forgive.
3. Understand Their Motive
If you get where they are coming from, it can help you work out their motive. Understanding the catalyst for the hurtful comment, criticism or action can be enlightening. In the cold light of day, you might realise there is something about yourself or your behaviour that needs working on. This in no way justifies their behaviour toward you, but if it prompts a positive change you choose to make, it can reduce the risk of similar incidents in the future.
4. Explain Why You Are Hurt
When someone hurts or upsets us, we can either defend or attack. The better option is to give your grievance a voice, to help the other person understand why you are hurt. Don’t accuse, blame or criticize. Explain how you are feeling about their comment or action.
5. Accept Apologies Graciously
This is more important than you think. It is natural to express thanks for an apology and please do so. However, if the apology hasn’t resolved the issue, ask for time to think about it. You don’t have to start acting like you are over it if you are not, but let the other party know so you don’t just internalize the negative feelings you’re still having.
6. Don’t Turn It into an Argument about past Wrongs
An issue between two people, particularly partners, can become a nagging sore that just begs to be picked at. For many, it is human nature that when we are hurt, we bring up a whole list of past wrongs. This will include things that you have forgiven but not forgotten. These should remain buried in the past. Keep the focus on the current issue. An expert forgiver leaves the past in the past.
7. Extend Your Own Olive Branch
Sometimes you have to be the bigger person. Even if you are right to feel wounded, if you reach out to the other party, you can start to bridge the gap that’s developed between you. Do something nice for them to show they are forgiven.