By Roz Jones
This is part of our April series for caregivers on spring cleaning – both physical and mental. Forgiveness or a lack thereof can make up a big part of our lives, so we wanted to make sure we addressed it.
Anything that betrays your trust and love in a person is hard to get over. More so, because the person who probably did that to you was someone close to you. You allowed them to come close and they caught you off guard.
Now, you’re left there with all those terrible memories. You’re hurt, you’re angry, and you’ve vowed to never, ever forgive them!
But the problem is not forgiving them isn’t going to teach them a lesson. It’s not going to rake them over the coals for what they did to you. Nor will it bring you justice or set things right once again. All it’s going to do is keep amassing your bitterness and anger. Pretty soon, it’ll be all you have left.
Nevertheless, forgiveness can’t be done overnight. It’s a process that takes time and a lot of effort. Here are five reasons why it’s so hard to forgive.
- You Can’t Open Up About Your True Feelings
Opening up means being vulnerable and exposing raw wounds. So, what’s the alternative? Just stay quiet. Staying hushed up and keeping your emotions bottled up is many people’s go-to reaction.
The problem is that when you don’t open up about your feelings, you make it extremely hard to forgive whoever wronged you. You feel like you’ve been backed into a corner with no way out.
Because when you’re not talking about emotions, they don’t just go away! They’ll never disappear into thin air.
To get closure, you need to get a trusted buddy you can confide in. You can also seek therapy or counseling where you’ll get the support and help you need.
- You Can’t Control Your Anger
This is the opposite of the first reason. If you feel you’re not able to forgive because you lack anger management, you’re not alone.
A lot of people are gripped by blinding anger. That makes forgiveness a hard thing to come by or accept. Then you allow anger and rage to take over, the only thing you want is revenge.
The problem with anger is that it distracts you from the real problems. It clouds your judgment and makes forgiving practically impossible.
- You Don’t Want The Person To Get Off The Hook
Many times our grudges are meant to be a sort of punishment for the person who hurt us. It gives us the illusion of power and control over our feelings.
However, that punishment is rarely ever effective. The other person may not even be aware of your grudge, or even that they offended you in the first place. They’re just living their life, while you’re left with the heavy burden.
One of the hardest things about forgiveness is acknowledging that it’s not about the person at all! When you forgive someone, it’s about how you can finally move on with your life.
Forgiving doesn’t exonerate them and it doesn’t get them off the hook for what they did. The sooner you realize that, the sooner you can take the first step towards healing.
- You Don’t Want To Risk Disappointment Again
Perhaps you’re afraid that if you forgive, you’ll be vulnerable. No one wants to get hurt or disappointed a second time, even if it’s at the hands of a different person.
According to expert psychologists, this is a well-known defense mechanism. It’s aimed at keeping safe from future disappointments. Before you can learn to forgive, you have to realize that life is messy. It has its ups and downs with its fair share of happy days and not-so-happy days.
- You Feel Misunderstood
How can you forgive if you feel you haven’t been heard? If you feel misunderstood, it’s often easier to justify holding on to your grudges and resentment.
You keep fencing yourself in more and more. The higher those walls go up, the angrier and more bitter you become. It’s a vicious cycle that goes on and on. And still, you don’t see any other way out. Letting go of what happened becomes harder and harder. And as long as you feel the need for them to hear you out, you’ll never be able to let go. After all, they didn’t treat you right, so why should you forgive them?
But, by holding onto all that rage and hurt, the only person you’re hurting is you.
Isn’t it time you started showing yourself the kindness and compassion you deserve? It all starts with forgiveness.
I am excited and thrilled to share with you my new adventure, “The Caregiver Café Podcast”. This podcast tackles and highlights the daily situations caregivers face with their aging loved ones. We also empower you to navigate the care and challenges of your loved one with relevant topics and through the voices of your peers and their life experiences.
We launched our first episode on April 4th, and you can learn all about it at this link.
Visit http://www.rozjonesent.com for more information on addressing issues that caregivers face on a daily basis, and check out my upcoming book!