Why can I forgive someone

Able to forgive: Forgive more easily in 4 steps

Forgiving and forgiving is not exactly easy for many. Especially since you want to be able to ask for forgiveness correctly. The very wording makes it clear: It is a request, not an order. Who asks for forgiveness appeals to the gentleness and kindness of the one he has offended or upset. However, this also means that the person has the choice to forgive or not. Often there are deep injuries and grievances behind it when someone does not want to forgive. With this, however, the injured person harms himself. The good news: You can learn to forgive ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

What is the difference between forgiving and forgiving?

Some like to use the verbs forgive and forgive synonymous, appears to some forgive only as the linguistically more elegant variant of forgive. There is, however, a small but subtle difference:

  • Forgive is suitable for smaller trivia. This is where the word draw, "accuse someone". The one who has suffered harm takes back their accusation by forgiving.
  • Forgive has a religious connotation. The injured party grants mercy to the guilty party. Psychology sees forgiveness as a longer process. It can happen regardless of whether the accused understands and regrets his act or not.

We have a detailed definition of the difference in this PDF, which you can download HERE for free:

Download: Difference forgiving & forgiving

There is no harm in being wronged. You just have to be able to forget it. (Confucius)

4 steps: Forgiveness can be learned

Even if it is difficult: forgiving and forgiving is worthwhile. You can close one thing, the old wounds can heal, and you can come to your inner peace. First of all, this involves two things: empathy and self-reflection. Then follow these four simple steps:

1. Look at the incident and the person

Often injured people are only concerned with their feelings. Try to look at the whole thing objectively, draw up a cost-benefit calculation:

  • Is it worth the hassle Or was something thoughtlessly said that was perhaps not meant that way?
  • How do you feel about the person, is they important to you?

2. Make a conscious decision

You should have established for yourself that you consciously want to initiate this process and that you want to deal with the old insult and leave it behind. Take your time and keep the benefits in mind.

3. Try to put yourself in the other person's shoes

Dare to change your perspective:

  • From your perspective, were there any good reasons for your action?
  • Was it possible that she lacked the knowledge of certain backgrounds so that she could not act otherwise?
  • Do you think the person acted willfully or maybe it was an accident?

You should also admit your injury, but also take a close look at your own behavior:

  • Did I make myself unclear?
  • Were there comparable situations in which I supported this action?
  • What is my contribution to this situation?

4. Let go of consciously

Instead of tormenting yourself with annoyance, you have decided not to let it dominate your life anymore, but to devote yourself to pleasant things again. This will trigger a feeling of liberation in you because you are now back in control of your life. Once you've gone through this process, you can move forward. Know that forgiving and forgiving is by no means a sign of weakness. Nor does it mean that something is undone as a result, or that you approve of the behavior in retrospect. What it can mean is a degree for you. You can also think about the positive experiences you have had with the person in the past - under certain circumstances, such aspects can promote the value of reconciliation.

2 tips for letting go

Do you desperately want to forgive someone but find it difficult? These two tips can help you let go:

Write
In this creative process, you can let your thoughts run free. Writing means relief and helps not to constantly fall into a carousel of thoughts. For example, you can write a letter to the person that you never send.

Pronounce
Pick up an object that you associate with the person or a picture. Say out loud, “I forgive (person's name) the blame for (cause).” It may not be enough just to say these words once; you may feel strange. It doesn't matter. Make sure that you are alone and undisturbed and repeat the saying several times. Some people are auditory, which means they have to hear things first so that they can grasp them.



One has to be able to forgive. Man's life is too short for him to be able to bring it back with resentment and vindictiveness. (Frederick the Great)

Cause: Why some cannot forgive

Why can some not forgive? In order to be able to answer the question about the cause, we have to take a closer look at what happened before: A person was hurt, offended, by the action or utterance of another person. There are enough triggers for resentment:

In every conflict, various factors play a role in the background that mean that some cannot forgive or at least find it more difficult than others:

  • biography
    Offenses are highly individual and are related to one's own history. When it comes to the same thing, one person may easily overlook something, another takes it to heart.
  • Proud
    One side may not apologize out of false pride, the other may not pardon for fear of losing face.
  • Repetition
    Behind this is the forgiving person's fear that the other will take it as encouragement to act again. Or there has already been a similar incident and the injured party cannot bring himself to forgive.
  • approval
    Another fear is that the behavior will be assessed as correct if you forgive your counterpart.
  • punishment
    Some want to punish the other in order to make the other person feel guilty and thereby feel better about themselves. But this only works in the rarest of cases. Often the perpetrator is not even aware of his or her “guilt” because he or she classifies an incident as a triviality. As a result, there is no guilty conscience at all.

The psychologist Kevin Carlsmith from Colgate University in Hamilton completed various experiments on the last point. Although his subjects assured them that they would feel better after the atonement, the exact opposite happened every time. At first it felt good, later the bitterness prevailed.

However, the attitude is wiser which the English statesman and philosopher Francis Bacon summed up: “He who takes revenge is no better than his enemy; but if he does without it, then he is superior to him. "

Only the strong can forgive

The inability to forgive or forgive ultimately escalates conflict and can lead to rejection and withdrawal. Friendships and relationships break apart. And not only that: It always means stress for the body, even if contact is broken off without reconciliation.

This is a pity, because some offense can be traced back to a misunderstanding. To do this, the problem would have to be addressed. Those who forgive use a coping strategy and help to strengthen their resilience. This has a positive effect on a wide variety of crisis situations, including at work.

Forgiveness is the best revenge. (German proverb)

It is healthy to be able to forgive

Just thinking about vengeance steals energy that we could put to better use. It burdens everyday working life as well as leisure time. And what's worse, it's bad for your health. The psychology professor at Concordia University in Canada, Carsten Wrosch, has been researching negative emotions for more than 15 years. Above all, however, he is interested in the effect bitterness has on our health. His conclusion: “Bitterness”, according to Wrosch, “especially when it becomes chronic, can have a considerable influence on biological functions, ours Weaken the immune system or make you downright sick, not just mentally. "According to various American studies, forgiveness promotes health:

  • Blood pressure and cortisol levels drop (Michigan State University study)
  • Back pain (PDF) and the risk of depression are decreasing (study by Duke University in Durham, North Carolina)
  • Weight loss in frustration eaters

On the other hand, people who do not forgive, besides the above complaints, plague stomach pain and sleep disorders. On the psychological side, disappointment, feelings of hatred and / or loneliness arise when someone withdraws offended. On the other hand, Wrosch recommends letting go and closing with the past. This is an important ability for self-control and self-regulation that can be trained - and makes a lot of things easier in life.

God has already forgiven me. It's his business. (Heinrich Heine)

Is it possible to forgive without apologizing?

It is a completely different matter if you are supposed to forgive something without someone apologizing to you. Is that even possible and if so, how? In fact, in order to forgive, many people need the encouragement of the person who has made a mistake. But forgiveness is also possible without apologizing by the causative part. This is necessary if only because we sometimes no longer have the opportunity to talk and therefore often no excuses can come up:

The person has moved away, died or there are reasons avoid contact with her. We often say that someone apologizes when they make a mistake. But strictly speaking - and in its original meaning - only the person concerned can excuse an incident anyway. Therefore it is also said that someone (the perpetrator) asks for an excuse (from the injured party). So if you have been harmed in any way, it is up to you to forgive. This applies in any case, even without the person concerned having apologized.

Understanding everything means forgiving everything. (Madame de Stael)

Fucked up: the plea for forgiveness

There is no obligation to forgive. If you put too much pressure on it - Motto: You have to forgive me for that - who perverts the perpetrator-victim scheme and turns it into the opposite: The victim becomes a perpetrator who is guilty if he or she does not forgive. This is not only highly manipulative, but doubly unfair. Equally out of place are excuses that seem trivializing, such as “Sorry!” Or “Tschulljung!” One can safely rule out the fact that one is actually forgiven in this way.

If anything belongs to the request for forgiveness also a truly contrite "sorry". There are all sorts of ways and means to do this: for example, making amends. Or put on a sad face and hand over flowers. You can of course also go barefoot to Canossa. Or you ask for pardon, verbally, full of remorse and as credibly as possible. This is the fastest, has the most lasting effect and only costs two things: overcoming and our pride.

Forgiving and forgetting means throwing precious experiences out of the window. (Arthur Schopenhauer)

Apologizing is often as difficult as forgiving

But this is exactly where the problem lies with learning to apologize and forgive: Many people hate to be confronted with their own imperfection. Worse still: having to admit it publicly. There is an interesting phenomenon:

  • The more indifferent you are to people, the easier it is to apologize.
  • The more important these people are to us (or the favor of the audience), the more doggedly we fight for our lost face - and only make it worse.

For example, how difficult is it for many people to admit to their partner that they made a stupid mistake? It's not much different in the job: Admitting to the boss or (as boss) in front of the team that you screwed up is much more difficult than admitting that to a colleague who we see neither as a competitor nor as an equal. How stupid! Anyone who makes a mistake should ask for forgiveness. Quite quickly and regardless of the person. Not only does this prove human size (and a normal-sized ego), it is also balm for relationships of all kinds.

Forgiveness is not foolishness, only a fool cannot forgive. (Chinese proverb)

What other readers have read about it

[Photo credit: FGC by Shutterstock.com]