Being wronged by a friend, a colleague or anyone else is a horrible feeling. Particularly when someone we’ve trusted lets us down, or has been unreasonable, it can be difficult to let go of the hurt and to move on from those emotions.
As such, most of us have friends that we’ve lost because we’re unable to forgive and forget. Most of us have ended relationships because we can’t move on from what our partner has done, and almost everyone has ‘enemies’ in the work place who once were a bit offish in an e-mail they sent round.
What you have to ask yourself though, is whether it’s worth it. That person might have wronged you, but is it worth losing a friendship over? Making work permanently awkward? Ending your relationship? Wouldn’t it be better for everyone if you could just forget and bury the hatchet rather than living with anger and upset?
If you’ve made the decision to forgive the person who has wronged you, then you’re being the bigger person and you’re doing the thing that is best for everyone. Still it’s not easy to genuinely give someone a second chance, so read on to find out how to go about it.
Think of Their Motives
The first thing to do is to think about the motives that that person had for crossing you. We all make mistakes and can’t be blamed for doing the wrong thing from time to time, rather what’s important is the intent behind those actions. Were they deliberately setting out to hurt you, or did something just go wrong along the way?
The good news here is that in most cases you’ll find that it’s the latter. Very few people are genuinely ‘bad’ or genuinely ‘evil’. Most of us do the things we do because we think they’re the right things. Perhaps the person who hurt you was just trying to help in some backwards way? Or maybe they were simply unaware of the consequences it would have on you? Perhaps it wasn’t really their fault and they were put in a no-win situation? Or maybe they were just sticking to their principles? Sometimes people end up upsetting us for the very best of intentions. We’ve all been mad at our partners for being clingy at some point in our lives – but then is it really such a crime that someone loves you so much they want to spend more time with you?
Look objectively then at the motives behind the person’s actions and ask yourself whether they really deserve to be punished indefinitely.
Think About Yourself
Likewise you might also try thinking about what you would have done in the situation, or whether you’re actually completely innocent. It may be that you would have done the same thing as them, or that you even have made the same mistake in the past. Is it then hypocritical of you to stay mad?
Likewise you might find that you’re not completely innocent in this precise case either. It may be for instance that you drove them to whatever they did by being difficult or aggressive. Or it might be that they were actually retaliating against you for something you did first. Once you accept some responsibility for the situation, then it becomes a lot easier to forgive them.
Think About How You’re Hurting Them
When you shut someone out or tell them off, this too can be incredibly hurtful. If this was someone you were once friends with, or if it’s someone you once loved, then you should think about how much you’re now hurting them and how they must be feeling. Do you really want to be responsible for that person’s unhappiness? Put yourself in their shoes, and you might just find that you melt and give in.
Remember the Good Times
Few people are completely rotten, and even if someone has recently upset you, there will likely have been times when you got on better and when you were good friends. If you can think back to those times, then you might find that it helps you to forgive them. Sure, they may have just broken your phone – but remember the time they surprised you with that birthday party? Don’t they deserve a second chance?
Take Some Time Out
If you’ve tried all these things and you still find that you’re too angry or too hurt to completely forgive the person you’re trying to rebuild bridges with, then what can often help is simply taking some time apart. When you get some distance and some time to cool off, you will often be able to regain perspective and look at the bigger picture – and realise that nothing is worth losing someone over.