Most people think of forgiving others as a way to heal emotional or spiritual wounds.
However, researchers have discovered that acts of true forgiveness can even provide incredible health benefits. Forgiving those who have hurt you can help lower blood pressure and anxiety as well as help you get better sleep.
Many people find it difficult to know whether they have truly forgiven someone. The difference between false and true forgiveness is significant, but it can also be subtle.
On top of that, many people forgive others in stages. That means that there is sometimes no dramatic moment when you start to feel differently about someone who has wronged you. So how can you know if you have forgiven someone?
Read on to learn all about the signs that you have achieved true forgiveness!
You Are Ready to Forgive and Forget
Some people say that they can forgive but they cannot forget. However, that is essentially the same as saying that they cannot forgive. As long as you are holding on to the hurt that someone has caused you, you have not finished the forgiveness process.
On the other hand, the day may come when you realize it has been a long time since you thought about the hurt someone caused you. That is a good sign that you have forgotten their offenses, which is a strong indicator of deep forgiveness!
You Are Seeing the Benefits of Forgiveness
When you forgive someone, you will start to see the signs of that forgiveness in your life. As we have discussed, true forgiveness can help lower anxiety and help you enjoy more sleep. However, it can also help you manage depression and stress.
On top of that, you might find that you have more insight into the nature of forgiveness. If you are understanding new things about what it means to forgive, that is a good sign that you are truly progressing through the stages of forgiveness.
You might also notice that you can speak with and about those who have hurt you without feeling pain or discomfort.
Real Forgiveness Asks for Nothing
Some people say that they do not want revenge, but they want justice for the wrongs that they have suffered. Although justice is an essential virtue, this may be a sign that they are still holding on to some resentment and hurt.
When you have forgiven someone, you no longer demand anything from them. However, that goes deeper than not speaking to them and telling them that they need to apologize or correct their wrongdoings. It is also vital to get to a point where there is no demand in your heart that they or you be different in any way.
Many people find it easier to forgive when they use a forgiveness writing technique. They write a letter that says what they wish they could say to the person they want to forgive. Then, they write down what they wish the other person would say back to them.
You can use this exercise to help yourself forgive, but you can also use it to figure out if you have already forgiven someone. Write out what you wish the other person would say and then read it. Look for signs in your letters that you are still waiting for something in the external world to happen before you feel ready to move on.
You Are Ready to Help Those Who Have Hurt You
What would you do if the person who wronged you needed help? Some people would feel that this was the perfect moment for them to receive some justice. If the misfortune of the other person makes you feel like they are getting what they deserve, then that is a strong sign that you are still not finished with the forgiveness process.
On the other hand, if you can empathize with their situation and feel compassion for them, you may have truly forgiven and forgotten.
If you are unsure, you can always take the dramatic step of actually trying to help the other person in some small way. If you find that a part of yourself resists doing so, that can help you notice how deeply you have forgiven or not.
You Have a Balanced View of Others
When we have not forgiven someone, we tend to see them in a negative light. It can also be difficult for us to appreciate their positive qualities.
Consider sitting down and trying to write out a balanced perspective on the other person. You might find that it is much easier to think of negative things about them than positive ones. Give yourself a few minutes and see if you can think of more positive things about the other person.
Then, imagine giving your list to someone else who does not know the person who hurt you. How would you feel if this person appreciated the positive qualities of the person you want to forgive? If some part of you wishes that they would have a more negative view of the person you want to forgive, that might be a sign that you should continue working on how to forgive.
Learn How to Achieve True Forgiveness
When you have truly forgiven someone, you can see the fruits of that forgiveness in your life. People often struggle for a long time with true forgiveness, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you need to go through the stages of forgiveness. Just because you are not at the end of this process does not mean that you are not taking steps in the right direction.
To learn more about how you can learn to offer true forgiveness, reach out and get in touch with me at any time!