We've all been there before. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, someone hurts us. We try and minimize the hurt as much as possible and deal with our pain by feeling angry.
It's easy and understandable to feel angry when someone offends us, but anger just makes things worse. The best (though not always easiest) response when someone wrongs us is to forgive. Even if they don't ask for it or deserve it, forgive them anyway. Whether it's a family member, a friend or an ex who has hurt you, you deserve the peace of mind that comes with forgiveness.
Easier said than done, right? Here are five ways to help you forgive someone who doesn't deserve it:
Anger is based on wanting a circumstance to change, or being upset that things are the way they are. When you teach yourself to accept what has happened and that there's no going back and changing anything, you're going to feel more at peace. Take that peace and move forward with life by forgiving.
2. Forgive for yourself
When I chose to forgive a former boyfriend, I didn't do it for him - I knew he didn't care whether I had moved on or not. But I was so tired of feeling hurt and angry with him, and while all that negativity didn't affect him in any way, I realized I was only poisoning myself.
3. Replace your feelings of hurt with feelings of love
Matthew 5:44 tells us to love our enemies, to bless them, do good to them, and to pray for them. As you work to have more love, you will have more compassion for those who hurt you. Trying to better understand and sympathize with those who hurt you will help you to gain more peace.
It's also important to remember that forgiveness doesn't happen overnight, so the ability to love someone who has hurt you won't come as quickly, either. Be patient as you learn to love.
4. Pray for help
No one understands forgiveness better than God himself. If you sincerely ask him for help to forgive someone who has wronged you, he will be there to help you through the process. You will also have strength to keep anger and hurt away as that space is filled instead with love and compassion.
Learn from your pain and turn it into something positive by asking yourself, "how can my experience help others?" The best way to forgive is by changing your resentful attitude into one of gratitude, and that happens by serving others. Your experiences and your example can always help someone else.
Forgiveness is an ongoing process, so even after you feel like you've forgiven someone, bitter feelings you thought were gone have a funny way of showing up again. Feeling like you just can't forgive someone , no matter how hard you try, is frustrating. But if you're really working toward that forgiveness, it will come. Just be patient and keep trying every day.
Emily Brady is a member of the FamilyShare content team. She studied Communication with an emphasis in journalism. She loves photography and finding a good book to read in her hammock on a sunny, breezy day.