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Thoughts on Forgiving Someone Who Has Hurt You, by Myra Bailes

Originally published in March of 2009

I definitely agree that forgiveness is often more about freeing oneself from limiting, painful emotions than it is about releasing the person who hurt you from responsibility for their actions.

Many times the people who hurt others are so unconscious of their own inner processes that they will continue to behave in the same or similar ways throughout their lives. They are simply too damaged and too ignorant to be able to do what it takes to recover and become sane, caring human beings.

What I have experienced also, is that most people have so many layers and characteristics, some of which may all tend in the same direction, while others seem to work at cross purposes. The same person who actually does love and respect and care about you may also harbor tremendous anger, condescension, frustration, etc., and they may at times believe that you are responsible for their unpleasant emotions, and treat you accordingly.

Since you are also a human being with many layers and characteristics, your own inner fears and conflicts and unpleasant emotions may indeed have triggered their reactions toward you. While I would hesitate to say that all this emotional pain and confusion and unconsciousness is "normal," it is certainly so common that probably almost everyone experiences it at least to some degree.

So, what are the keys to unraveling this stuff so that we can all free ourselves from past trauma? I believe there are:

  1. Commitment. Realize that you are important enough to deserve to recover and be free to give and receive affection and respect. Respect the pain and the power it has to teach you about yourself, about others, about life. And commit to not giving up to despair.

    Commit to inner honesty, commit to continue working to free yourself, to open yourself to life.

  2. Listen to what your dreams are trying to tell you. Your organism constantly seeks to heal itself on all levels.

    Sometimes your dreams may speak of your anxiety, your grief. Contemplate the dream images on an emotional level and feel compassion toward yourself. Other times your dreams may show you a tremendous beauty, love, peace, joy. This type of dream indicates that you do indeed still have all of this inside of you, trying to manifest in your life. Acknowledge this message by consciously assisting your inner joy, love, peace, and beauty to find active expression in your waking life.

  3. Forgive yourself and don't get caught up in remorse. Feel it, but don't be attached to it. Remorse should be your loving teacher--no matter how painful the memories--but not your slavemaster or torturer. By and by, as you learn to forgive yourself, the forgiveness towards others--and towards the hardships of life in general--will also develop.

  4. Don't expect "perfection." Forgiveness usually isn't an all-or-nothing, once-and-forever phenomenon. The only real perfection lies in transcendence, in universal consciousness, toward which each being, through the power of life itself, unceasingly attempts to move. Every time an inner barrier dissolves, rejoice and breathe! You have passed a milestone, but the journey is not over!

  5. Try to understand the personality and emotional components of your relationships with other people.

    Learn to be your own emotional detective. Your feelings can be valuable clues, both to your own inner self as well as to the personality and emotions of other people. Understood in this light, your relationships can teach you many valuable lessons.

    Sometimes the lesson might be, "I need to understand, love, and respect myself more". Other times it might be, "This is a person with whom I should not be in a close relationship."

    Respect your intuition and understanding and act accordingly, focusing on taking the best possible care of yourself--not on negative emotions or actions towards the other person.

  6. Don't be in a hurry. If you tend to "fall in love at first sight" and then soon find that Mr. or Ms. Right isn't so right after all, even might be someone who is going to hurt you a lot, consciously try to slow it down! Why are you in such a big hurry? Is it because you are so desperate for affection that you are forgetting to first find out if this person is actually worthy of a close relationship with you?

    Respect your need for affection first of all by respecting your right to personal safety and well-being. If you love and respect yourself, you will know more about what to look for in others, and more apt to find relationships with people who truly love and respect you. So don't be in a hurry. Take your time, be observant, and choose your friends and "significant others" carefully and consciously.

  7. Sometimes a sense of humor can come to the rescue! I know people who gush at me when they see me. These same people, however, do nothing to create or maintain a friendship with me. They never call me, never invite me to their house, do not return my phone calls or respond to my e-mails. Yes, I've felt angry at them sometimes. I resent their apparent shallowness. But hey, there's nothing that says I have to build my emotional satisfaction around these people! If that's how they are or how they want to be, who am I to try to change them? Essentially they are harmless, they are not out there killing and maiming, cheating and stealing; they are just a little flighty and insincere. They've just wounded my vanity a little bit. Big deal! And then I laugh at the absurdity of it all. It's like the James Thurber cartoon where it shows a zillion people all rushing to and fro along a busy street going past a cemetery. The only text is "Destinations." So I just appreciate myself a bit, and giggle. In the end, we're all going to the same place anyway!

Note from Ben Kim: Many thanks to Myra for sharing her thoughts and experiences on forgiving those who have hurt us.

To view the original post that inspired Myra to share her thoughts on forgiveness, please go to:

How To Forgive Someone Who Has Hurt You


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This was a very insightful, humble, and warm article about forgiveness. The end was very quirky and fitting, bringing an instant smile to my face. Thank you.

Great article on <a href=""> forgiveness. </a> I hate to say this, but it really wasn't until reading Kent Whitaker's latest book, "Murder by Family" until I realized the true meaning of forgiveness. Kent's wife and youngest son were both murdered by his eldest son, and Kent found enough compassion in his heart to forgive his son for committing the murder and even stood by his side as he was given the "death penalty." His forgiveness is a powerful example of the perfect love and forgiveness that God has for everybody. It really made me look at my own life and realized that if he could forgive something so huge, I could forgive others who have hurt me.