How to Forgive and Rebuild Trust with Someone Who Hurt You
We learn how to forgive by understanding what forgiveness is and how it helps us.
By rebuilding trust, we may resolve the conflict inside us long after the harm has been done.
1. Forgive yourself and others
Often we hear the phrase “Let It Go” but find it hard to forgive and forget.
Why does it feel like the universe doesn’t allow us to forgive? If it is in the past, why can’t we just let it go?
When we hold onto grudges, we form an identity of being a victim who has been wronged. It gives us a sense of rightness. Sometimes we gain sympathy and support from others. All of this can feel empowering.
A grudge is a natural defense mechanism to keep others from harming us. In holding grudges, we believe that it will stop us from people doing wrong to us. We think that by holding onto what happened, we avoid what could happen again.
But it is false.
We do not feel better but become worse in time.
Holding onto resentment causes us to waste valuable energy in our mind and also manifests illness in our body.
Grudges makes us stressed. Thus, it raises cortisol levels and we attain an unhealthy level of obesity. Anger and revenge raises blood pressure and reduces effectiveness in our vagus nerve.
Mentally, it robs us of our hope for the future as we spend all of our time seeking ways to harm them when we could have used it to help ourselves. Even if we did exact revenge for causing us harm, it only makes feeling bad worse.
Forgiveness is to give up the idea that you can control what happened.
Nothing you can do can change what happened. We cannot change how other people reacted.
You don’t have to forget but the only way forward to a better future is to drop the baggage we carry in the past.
There are no Right and Wrong in Arguments, Only Two Fools
A fight almost always come from two opposing viewpoints engaging in a war to whom is right or wrong.
In your eyes, you were right. In their eyes, they were right. No one believes themselves to be the bad guy.
If you were to perceive with the eyes of the universe, you may see two tiny humans fighting.
What are they arguing about? What is the perspective of one and the perspective of another? Does it really matter in the next 10 years?
When you view your situation from a birds-eye view, it’s liberating to know how small the situation is. You can make better decisions from this objective point of view.
Now there is such thing as right and wrong which is as clear as night and day. However, most arguments have distorted sense of right and wrong and so both are unwise.
We are fools. Fools who engages in the fight, fools to think we can change others, and fools who keep the fight when it no longer exists in the present.
Art of Forgiving Yourself
The other person might have done you harm but you don’t have to continue that harm yourself.
Forgiveness is for yourself. You are relieving the pain that stays inside your body.
It means you choose not to retaliate or seek revenge on another. It doesn’t mean you should like each other.
By forgiving yourself, and sometimes the other as well, you cut off the cycle of revenge.
The cycle goes like this: you hurt me, so I hurt you. Since I hurt you, you seek to hurt me back. I get hurt and so I hurt you again. Then you hurt me because you felt bad of the memory you had. Then upon hurt, I hurt you for the memory I held of you hurting me. Etc.
You can end this cycle by giving a gift to you both – the gift of forgiveness.
It is easier to forgive when we realize that the other person wants the same thing as you do. Both people are hurt and want things to be right. If you can put yourself in the other person’s shoes, what would you see? How would you treat yourself as someone else?
2. Rebuild Trust
Understanding that no one really wants to hold grudges, we may begin to rebuild the trust we have broken.
When harm is done to us, we cannot simply forgive and hope that they don’t break our necks. We may forgive ourselves while the other party still seek revenge. We can forgive and may still worry about the pain the other person still hold.
But if we rebuild trust, then there is a mutual understanding and responsibility for both parties. Everyone wins. Not only do you reestablish trust but your trust between each other grows even stronger.
It takes more to rebuild trust and establish harmony.
This means you have to talk to the other person.
In interacting with the other party, be well not to deny any responsibility on your part. Otherwise they will further put you at a distance. Communication with honest intention is the key to disarm any further harm. Use respectful language.
To regain trust is to show them you respect them and to understand that we were both hurt. Get an understanding of what happened and what action caused the harm. On a grand scale, it is wrong and shall not happen in the future.
A gift may also be included if it is required.
Why, we often teach children this when they come across fights. The simple process does not change one bit even for adults.
What if Wrongdoer don’t want to rebuild trust?
Not all conflict ends peacefully. Sometimes you seek to understand and rebuild trust but the other person refuses by the following:
- Denying responsibility: “I didn’t do anything.”
- Deny harm actually done: “There’s nothing wrong.”
- Deny worth of victim: “So what? You’re just too sensitive.”
- Attacking the accuser: “You started it first!”
- Claim higher moral ground: “I am a more spiritual and above duality and blame”
- Do not promise to do it again: “Yeah I’ll promise…[does it again]”
There are many times someone will not be open to an honest discussion. They are fixed on their perspective.
Then it is not possible to bring harmony at the moment. That’s okay.
Let it go because if you hold onto resentment, you may cause harm to someone else.
Know that we are always responsible for our actions and that all beings are worthy of respect.
If they hold onto resentment, they will create their own grave. Sadly as it sounds, there is nothing you can do but watch.
It is better for one’s health to do the apologies even though it may not be well received because it lifts the weight on your shoulders. The act of apologizing is a manifestation of forgiveness so it is much more powerful to do the act than to imagine forgiveness.
Not Just A Person but a Culture
Sometimes you can’t find your way to understanding when the person is fully immersed into a culture that won’t allow it.
New Age circles believed in “Non-Duality”. But their kind of understanding has made themselves above blame. This culture says that they have transcended duality and so no “ego-confrontation” affects them since they follow the principle of Non-duality. Whatever hurt they have done to you, it is because of you and never them.
In certain societies where jerk behaviors are highly valued, apologies appear weak to them and so they hide under bravado.
Thus, we may never find reconciliation with those under those culture.
It doesn’t matter because we have lifted the hurt from ourselves. That is what matters most.
Perhaps someday others will see it too. If not in this life, then in another life.