As the saying goes, resentment is like drinking a poison and waiting for your enemy to die. Anger and grudges poison you from the inside out. They suck the joy out of everyday life and make it hard to trust anyone. Yet letting go of all that anger and hurt can be hard to do, especially if it was caused by someone you deeply love and trust.
The sense of betrayal and loss you feel can overwhelm you and weigh you down. It is for this reason that many people want to rid their lives of the anger and resentment they’re carrying around. Forgiveness isn’t just good for the betrayer — It’s also good for the betrayed. Indeed, what ultimately inspires us to forgive is more often selfishness than anything else. It hurts too much to stay angry and it becomes self-destructive to hold back forgiveness. We just sometimes get stuck on the way there.
So what do you need to do to get on the path to forgiveness?
Take a look in the mirror. Ask yourself: How have you contributed to the injustice your loved one committed? How did you help drive things to this painful place? Once you see your own role you'll be able to take some of the blame off your partner.
How is that grudge serving you? (And consider whether you are actually biting off your nose to spite your face!) Are you not forgiving because you are scared you'll get hurt again? Maybe you secretly relate to your loved one's crime and have thought about doing it yourself. Maybe what you disdain in your partner is really what you disdain about yourself. When you are aware of how little the grudge you are holding has to do with your partner and how much it has to do with you, it's that much easier to release it.
Express your feelings. Yes, we may get angry and express it in the moment when we are first confronted with a misdeed or betrayal. But after that, are you just stuck in anger? Have you let yourself really feel the sadness and maybe even fear that was brought on by your loved one's actions? Have you expressed those feelings to him? Often you will find that if you allow yourself to really experience these feelings, the anger isn't as strong anymore and forgiving comes easier.
Ask yourself what you really want. Do you want to stay in this relationship or move on? Do you still feel love for and a connection to this person? If you do, it's time to forgive and forget. It may take time to heal and rebuild the trust, but if you commit to the relationship and communicate honestly through the process you'll likely make it through to the other side and be in a better place in your relationship than you were in before.
When we forgive our loved ones we are also forgiving ourselves, and we are choosing love over anger and regret. And that is truly divine.