They say forgiveness can make you a better person but what they don’t say is that sometimes forgiveness can be taken for granted. Some friends might not even appreciate your forgiveness while others crave nothing more, but where does this leave you?
No can make the decision if you should forgive your friend but you can be advised to determine the extent of how bad this person has hurt you while considering the possibility of how you will feel in the future if you continue to hold onto this resentment. Start by figuring out if your friend’s actions are forgivable or not in an objective way. It’s important to remember that you can forgive this friend but it does not mean that you need to forget or continue having them in your life
However, it’s never as simple as just forgiving a friend. There are certain instances where it will be incredibly difficult to forgive the person who has scared you.
Here you’ll find out how to know if you should forgive someone, the type of friends you’ll find hard to forgive, while also taking a look at the reasons why you should forgive someone to help you heal.
You’ll also find actionable steps on how to forgive this person where I go more into detail with the intention of helping guide you to make the right decision.
How To Know If You Should Forgive A Friend
Determine The Situation
Depending on how bad your friend has hurt you, it would be easier to know what is forgivable and unforgivable.
There are certain cases where it isn’t as extreme where it causes major damage to you, and in this case, you should try to let it go and move on.
However, it isn’t so straightforward for us to tell you for certain if you should forgive this friend because the only one who can truly answer this question is yourself.
Only you know what effect it had on you.
If you feel like it’s something that can be forgiven or maybe you eventually won’t even care about it, then, by all means, forgive because it’s pointless to waste time stressing about this person or the things they have done to you.
In cases where it has affected you immensely and if neither you nor that person can never come back from it, this will determine if forgiveness is possible.
There are many things in life that are just too unforgivable but it all boils down to how this decision will benefit you in the future.
See also: When Should You Give Up On A Friendship?
Find Out The Reasons Why They Did It
This is mostly recommended for a life long friend who was someone you could trust or were there for you all your life.
Although this won’t solve all your problems or help you to forgive your friend, just knowing why or understanding the reasons as to why your friend has done that particular thing might speed up your recovery process.
They could have been seriously jealous of you or were never your friend in the first place, this will create an understanding of who and what that friend really was.
It can break any rose-tinted glasses you had on to finally see their true colors rather than searching in the dark for answers or assuming the worse about yourself.
It will help you come to terms with the situation but be advised that this might not always be the right move.
Your friend could always keep lying and spin stories to try to convince you otherwise or shift the blame.
Will Forgiving This Person Benefit You?
As mentioned before, forgiving doesn’t have so much to do with the person receiving it but it has more to do with you.
If you can find peace and let go of those heavy feelings that have been bringing you down, forgiving this person for yourself will help you feel better.
Rather than getting mad at the sight or mention of that person’s name, you’ll reach a point where this person becomes indifferent and it no longer has any hold on you.
In fact, anger and resentment tend to feed on OUR souls even though that person will go on living their life as if nothing happened.
So, who has more to lose here? Spending your time focusing all your attention on how badly this person has hurt you or forgetting them completely and enjoying your time with people you love?
Try to think long term and see a positive situation where in the future you are glad to let go of what happened and moving on from the situation was the best thing you could do for your well being.
This is easier said than done and it may take you years to actually forgive a friend who has hurt you deeply but it’s definitely not impossible.
Just note that it may require time and effort to truly feel okay with everything.
Never force it either. If forgiving doesn’t come naturally, it won’t feel real or convincing. You have to give it sufficient time to heal and let go.
It’s better to not hold onto how bad it makes you feel every time you think of that friend, mostly because it usually ends up in you spiraling into negative emotions such as depression, anger, hatred, and hopelessness.
To truly heal and not experience these lows which may affect other areas of your life, you will have to learn to forgive but this doesn’t mean you need to forget.
Important takeaway: It doesn’t matter if that friend thinks you should forgive them or not, what matters the most is how you feel.
Reasons Why You Should Forgive A Friend
Now let’s take a quick look at why forgiveness can benefit you more than the person who’s receiving it:
1. Forgiveness Provides Freedom
Although forgiveness does not by any chance mean you are forgetting, it allows you to feel at ease with the situation.
You will start to experience understanding and meaning behind that person’s actions whereas holding onto these feelings will affect you in other ways you might not even know you are experiencing.
This could mean your daily interactions with other people and life in general. If you are feeling miserable on a daily basis, it tends to show even if you think you are handling it well.
2. Forgiveness Is For You
I don’t think I can stress this enough. You may feel like forgiving a friend is about that person but in actual fact, it’s more to do with how you feel and the way it will impact you.
Forgiveness allows you to move on.
It may be tempting and almost impossible to let go of your feelings towards this friend but eventually, this person’s actions will no longer have a hold on you.
It becomes easier to focus on things that actually matter rather than wasting time thinking about that person.
Friends Who Might Be Difficult To Forgive
There are a few friends you may find it quite challenging to forgive and will require extreme patience when dealing with them (of course this depends on the situation you experienced):
For instance, these types of friends usually are:
Harmful Friends – Friends who have emotionally and physically harmed you in some way are one of the most difficult kinds since these people have acted on their ill intentions in some way towards you.
Trusting them or even being in the vicinity of them will be painful but if you can forgive this friend, it’s almost guaranteed you will become stronger and better.
See also: Can Jealous Friends Be Dangerous?
Those That Cheated With Your Partner – If your best friend has cheated with your partner, it’s usually an unforgivable crime by both of them.
To continue being friends with these people will be detrimental to your health. It will be incredibly difficult to trust either of them again.
Those That Betrayed Your Trust – A friend who betrayed your trust is also challenging to forgive especially when you put so much trust and faith into this person only for them to disregard everything.
Toxic Friends – Although it’s not as challenging to forgive these friends, taking a harmful toxic friend back into your life even if you have forgiven them is not recommended, especially if they prove to not change any of their bad behavior and actions.
If this kind of toxic friend has done seriously damaging things to you, it might be hard to forgive them for their actions.
How To Forgive A Friend
Forgiveness does not come easy but there are a few ways you can try:
Give It Time
In order to forgive someone, you will need to allow the process to come naturally.
If you force it, you will soon realize that forgiveness was not genuine and you will start to feel resentful towards that person either way.
You have to allow yourself to take the time and gradually accept rather than forcing yourself to forgive someone for whatever reason.
If you come to an understanding and realization in your own time with a clear mind, you will never be bothered by this person ever again.
Forgiveness Does Not Mean You Lose
You may start to doubt and question whether forgiving someone will really benefit you or if it’s giving that person the easy way out. Not necessarily. Forgiving someone simply means that you are the better person and you will not stoop down to their level.
It doesn’t matter if that person even cares for your forgiveness, if forgiveness will make you feel good, then so be it.
Forgiveness is a way to freedom from this person while reaping the benefits. It will only empower you to be stronger and learn from the past so that you will never be taken advantage of by this person or anyone else.
Remind Yourself That You Will Come Out On Top
If you’re constantly struggling with forgiveness, give yourself a break, and accept that it’s totally normal and okay.
When you start to feel bitter and notice that your thoughts are becoming more negative, remind yourself of what moving on will do for you later on.
It’s important to do this often and try to be positive in the process of forgiveness.
Sometimes it’s easier to hold onto negative emotions because it’s all you know at that moment but true freedom from resentment and hatred is when you learn to forgive and step away from a bad past.
Try Thinking Of Times When You Were Forgiven By Someone Else
Everyone makes mistakes and we’re bound to make mistakes in the near future. Even if you have made a few mistakes that you deeply regret but if you haven’t, consider yourself lucky.
However, try to imagine those times when your actions caused you more pain and the relief you felt when you were forgiven for a mistake you committed.
This may help you towards your own path of forgiving your friend depending on the circumstance.
When we’re going through an incredible amount of stress, it can be taxing on our physical and mental wellbeing.
Soon enough, you may feel like you’re carrying the world on your shoulders and you just don’t know how to turn off your mind.
Mediation can be a great activity that encourages you to concentrate and focus on your breathing. This allows your body to slow down and be more present in the current moment.
This is a fantastic way to loosen up and let go of built-up stress.
Do note that mediation takes time and consistency for you to fully experience its true benefits but once you do get into a routine, you’ll be surprised at what a huge difference it will make in your life.
Go For Therapy
Talking to someone besides your family and friends can be a wonderful experience but more importantly, it gives you an opportunity to not hold back with a stranger and just be completely honest.
You don’t need to be worried about feeling judged or if your secrets will be shared with anyone else.
It’s the best way to go into therapy with a mindset that this person is there to help you and impartiality while help you work through your problems.
It’s not for anyone to make the decision if you should forgive a friend or not but rather it falls on your shoulders to make the right decision.
No one else besides you can tell how much pain it caused you or if you feel like forgiveness is the answer.
However, if you are on the fence of whether you should forgive your friend, take some time, and focus on yourself rather than stressing over this situation.
If you can take a few days off from thinking of this person and simply do things you love, then you’ll find that when you do come to a decision, you’ll realize that none of this is as important as you thought it was.
There are cases where it’s beyond forgiveness and may not be able to move past everything that has happened.
However, the best thing you can do is make an honest attempt to move forward and focus less time revisiting these bad memories.
At the end of the day, you have to do what is best for you.