Forgiveness: How to Overcome the Barriers to It


You will get hurt throughout your life; some pain will be temporary and others will last years. There will also come a time when you will hurt someone else. To move past the hurt and what someone did requires forgiveness. Sometimes it is just too difficult to forgive another person but this prevents you from moving on with your life. When your partner lies to you or says something you do not like, you may feel hurt. Other emotions you may experience include distrust and feel betrayed. You may not want to speak to the person, least of all forgive them.

If you continue to hold onto your pain then you will suffer. You cannot hold onto the mistakes of another person forever. Forgiveness allows you to show compassion and understanding; it will also release you to continue living. Forgiving others benefit you socially, physically and emotionally. Yet, it is so difficult to find it in our hearts to forgive others. We let our emotions fester until we can’t continue with daily life. Why do we struggle to forgive?

You want to protect yourself

Protecting yourself from pain and harm is a natural response. You will lose trust in your partner if he constantly exhibits the same behavior (for example, excessive drinking then fighting) and then apologizes but does it again. You do not want to forgive him because you know the same thing might happen tomorrow. This creates the illusion that it is okay to make the same mistake repeatedly and can lead to victimization.

You can protect yourself from this situation by talking to your partner and setting boundaries. Set a test period in which the person can correct their actions and prove to you that they won’t repeat the same mistake. This will help you to re-establish trust and help you to forgive more easily.

You are worried about your reputation

Keeping up appearances and having a good reputation is important for most people. You may be worried that others will see you as weak or vulnerable if knowledge about your partner’s transgressions were to become public knowledge. Other mistakes cause harm to our own image. It is best to keep your issues with your partner private; then it is not necessary to try and fix your image as nobody will know what happened. Make your issues known to others if it is harming your lifestyle or if you are suffering abuse.

Your reputational damage is not your fault. Build yourself up and remember your strong points. Focus on the positive things in your life. You are important.

You are not ready to forgive

The most likely barrier to forgiveness is that you are not ready to forgive the person. You are still holding onto the mistake and may be worried that it is going to be repeated. And are afraid of getting hurt again. You can fasten the pace to forgiveness by reflecting on the mistake. Think about what was done wrong, how it made you feel and what you would have liked to be different. Discuss these things with your partner to understand their side of the story.

Forgiveness is not easy but you can forgive and move on faster than you think. Work through your emotions, stay strong and give yourself time. Time heals all wounds and it will get better.

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