How do you know if you’ve forgiven someone?

This is a tough thing to think about, and people often get it confused with saying what someone did is okay. Not so.

I’m always learning about myself and what it means to be in connection with other people, but from what I’ve gleaned so far, forgiveness can be pretty complex. Here is how you might start to evaluate it for yourself. Let’s say you’re wondering if you’ve forgiven a person who harmed you in some way, either psychological of physical.

  1. Do you still NEED that person to acknowledge what they did or apologize to you? Are you fixated on this? If this is the case… you likely haven’t forgiven them, because forgiving them means that you no longer have any energy wrapped up in what THEY need to do for YOU to heal. Forgiving someone means that you recognize healing resides with you.
  2. Do you wish ill on the person? Now, you may not think fondly of someone who hurt you, but if you still are expending energy wishing bad things to happen or wish to seek revenge… you haven’t forgiven the person.
  3. Would you count what they did against them? If you were in a hypothetical argument, would you still count what they did against them currently, even though it was a past action? Essentially, would you reference a past wrong, currently, in order to justify yourself or to hurt this person? If so, you likely haven’t forgiven them because you’re still keeping tallies of their wrongs.
  4. Do you see yourself as self-righteous/better than the person? Or… can you acknowledge that everyone messes up from time to time? The latter leans more toward forgiveness.
  5. A pretty good test too is if you can hold empathy or compassion for the person. That doesn’t mean you like what they did, but can you see them as a nuanced complex human being… just like you?

Let me know if you can add anything to the list. This is all I got for now. lol

Much love

Natalie

3 thoughts on “How do you know if you’ve forgiven someone?

  1. Interesting. Just before reading this I was thinking how it’s funny I sometimes feel conscious about shutting my close family out for all this time and for the foreseeable future, despite them wanting to be in contact with me. It just occurred to me that after all it was them who shut me out in the first place, and in a way that was so brutal and final, so I definitely shouldn’t feel bad about it for as long as I need to keep it this way.

    I know it’s only down to my sheer levels of empathy for other people I was even able to think in that way at all, lol. Anyway, your list makes total sense as a starting point and I fully agree with it :).

    Like

    1. Thanks for your comment, Robin. There is no shame in doing what you need to do to keep yourself safe. Other people don’t have to understand it. They don’t have to like it.

      Thanks for your feedback on the list!

      Liked by 1 person

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