How to Heal the Hurt Through Forgiveness

When you’ve been hurt by someone, it’s common to feel resentful. You may harbor this resentment for years, perhaps waiting for an apology or for something to happen that would “right the wrong.” Forgiveness may seem impossible, as if it would be disloyal to yourself to even consider forgiving those who hurt you.

Time may only make you more upset, offended, cynical, or detached. You might direct your resentment onto other people who don’t deserve it. As fair as it is to feel hurt over the incident, it may seem as though you are mired in the misery and resentment of the situation without relief.

Eventually, as you notice how toxic and damaging resentment is, you might want some relief. Although it is harder, fortunately you can forgive people without receiving an apology. You may begin to realize that forgiveness does not mean that what had happened is all right; but rather, that, as you are forgiving, you can move on from hurtful events.

First, you must stop blaming yourself for other people’s inappropriate behavior, and acknowledge that they really hurt you. Begin to abandon the experience of acting like a victim and acknowledge that you didn’t deserve their disrespectful behavior. Forgive yourself for any role you played in the incident, and recognize that you did indeed survive the experience.

And last, but perhaps the most difficult part of the process, is your recognition that the person who has hurt you has probably had personal experiences in their life that have resulted in their behavior. They probably would have acted in a different way if their life were more nurturing past to develop understanding and wisdom. Once you are able to understand that, the painful experience and how it relates to your life will make more sense, and you can appreciate the learning experience that resulted from the situation.

You will finally realize the powerful gift that forgiveness is as you complete the healing process. You will experience relief at being able to let your resentment go and you will be able to make more room in your life for consideration and compassion. If you would like to read more about forgiveness I would recommend Sidney and Suzanne Simon’s book “Forgiveness: How to Make Peace With Your Past and Get On With Your Life.

Joan Miller, Ph.D. is an Atlanta Georgia marriage counselor who helps clients learn helpful strategies to improve their relationships. She is one of the many talented marriage counselors you will find on