The Concept Of Forgiveness In Relationships – By Reshma
FORGIVENESS IN RELATIONSHIPS
Can you imagine what life would be like without intimacy? What would your life be like without your partner? Your relationship provides you with love, support and companionship. Your partner enhances your life experiences by showing you new ideas, activities and adventures. Many a time, even if you don’t know it, these are the kind of relationships that provide meaning to your life.
But couples hardly have it easy. Relationship maintenance is tough, and most of the time they work best when two people can meet each other’s expectations half way while not losing sight of their individuality. A healthy partnership requires daily negotiation, loads of empathy and the willingness to forgive when disappointments surface every now and then.
I repeat – willingness to forgive.
Now this can be very challenging, especially when your partner offers nothing at all, or worse – an insincere apology. No matter how crushing it may be to your ego, forgiveness is the healthiest way forward on a subconscious level, because it helps you to see another’s wound, respect their perspective about the problem, and process your own emotions in non-hurtful ways. If you happen to be the perpetrator of the crime, then remember it is as important to forgive yourself as much as it is to take responsibility for hurting someone else’s feelings. As adults it is also important to be free from perceiving yourselves as victims. This is called victim identification – when you are unable to free yourselves from the person, situation or institution that hurt you. It keeps you in a loop of blame and shame, unconscious seeking of destructive relationships and dishonesty with yourselves.
Robert Frost, in his poem, A Servant to Servants, says, “The best way out is through”.
Being able to forgive is very crucial, because there will be umpteen ways in which one partner can go against the other’s expectations however compatible they may be. This is normal, because it is not realistic for two people to be on the same page all the time and never disappoint the other person.
Surely when a loved one betrays trust, the relationship may embark on a downward trend of negativity, disengagement and ultimately its demise. But since it’s not easy to avoid unmet expectations, being able to work through issues is central to keeping the relationship together.
Forgiveness asks for letting go, not holding on to grudges and being focused enough to take steps to repair lost intimacy and bonding. To forgive your lover, you must start by forgiving yourself. It is often the first and foremost step towards a loving positive relationship towards yourself and others.
If you are struggling with forgiveness in your relationship, take a step back and think about how much you think your partner cares for you. Is your partner someone you see as dependable and predictable? Even if your partner hasn’t met an expectation do you still see him/her as someone who cares for you and is likely to do the right thing? When you focus on the remnants of trust, it can provide a quick assessment of how easy it will be to resolve both the issue and the damage done.
Therefore, forgiveness is a process. It is not something that happens overnight. So then how do you actually forgive? What is expected of a couple in this process? The process of forgiveness may be viewed differently by each party in the relationship. However here are some ways to forgive those you have hurt and have hurt you:
1. Try to be objective of the hurtful event and remember that you can do things differently right now.
2. Express your feelings (but in a safe place such that you do not further hurt yourself or others)
3. Allow yourself to repent and grieve. It is painful, but will get you to accept soon.
4. LET GO. Let go of anxiety and emotions that come up. Emotions come in waves. Ride them and let them pass. It’s very easy to get caught up with them, but if you can make a CONSCIOUS decision to let it go, then moving forward will be lot easier.
5. Don’t get back at yourself or your partner. Set limits.
6. Practice being gentle and kind to yourself and others.
Please remember, forgiveness doesn’t mean we have to stay in/go back to the same harmful relationships, or to the person who has hurt us. It means moving on from the past and not allowing our emotional well-being to be coated with bitterness and anger.
By Reshma Raju
Certified Women’s Health Coach (USA)
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