4 Reasons You Can Forgive Someone You Love


4 Reasons You Can Forgive Someone You Love
Forgiveness is for you as well as the relationship - find sources in your spirituality to help do it

When you have become emotionally close to another person, you have become more vulnerable. This vulnerability opens the doors for that person to do things that really hurt, which often comes out when conflicts arise. At the same time, you can develop higher expectations about what the other person does and how they should act towards you. This also can lead to unfulfilled expectations which could result in resentment or even anger, even without the other person knowing that they have done something to hurt you.

A recent study has shown that people with increased spirituality have improved mental health, in part because of the role of forgiveness. This helps to point to the fact that the person forgiving gets as much benefit, if not more, out of the act of forgiveness as the person being forgiven. In forgiving the person that you love, you are setting aside your anger and your resentment. These are elements that can eat away at you and detract from wholeness within your relationship. In looking at this understanding of forgiveness, it is important to recognize that it does not preclude being angry or resentful, in fact recognizing and feeling your reaction to what happened is important before you are able to forgive. Similarly, there is a difference between forgiving and forgetting – forgiving is not about approving of what the other person has done but is all about how you relate with the other person, especially inside of yourself.

So, how are you able to forgive someone that you love?
1. Explore how your own spirituality allows you to be forgiven for things you have done. If you come from one of the Abrahamic traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) this may be rooted in history based on the way God has forgiven humans over time. If you come from traditions out of the Indic family of religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism) this may be rooted in an understanding of compassion and that forgiveness is cultivated from a philosophy of peace. If you come from aboriginal or indigenous religions this may rooted in the work of the spirits. Regardless of where these roots are, pay attention to the fact that at your essence you have needed forgiveness as well as the reasons why you have been able to be forgiven.

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Article contributed by
Advanced Member

The Rev. Christopher L. Smith

Marriage and Family Therapist

The Rev. Christopher L. Smith, LCAC, LMHC, LMFT has served as a national leader around mental health issues both within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and in professional counseling organizations.  He works directly with individuals, couples, families and supervisees as the Clinical Director of Seeking Shalom in New York City.  He also brings his insight to help a wider audience through writing, speaking and consultations.

Location: New York, NY
Credentials: LAC, LMFT, LMHC, MDiv
Specialties: Couples/Marital Issues, Forgiveness, Spiritual
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