Forgiving is hard because it looks like it’s a gift we make to the one who has wronged us. Why would we give something to someone who hurt us?
1. Forgiveness is a gift, but to our own self. It's a healing process we allow our self to go through, so that we can reset our emotions and nervous system, turn the page and move on.
2. Forgiveness is not equal to giving a second chance. We can forgive someone and never give them another chance. Or we can forgive and give a second, third, or even forth chance. We still get to decide what we do after forgiving.
3. If we have felt hurt, we believe that we are right and the other party is wrong. In every situation (at the exception of child neglect/abuse), each party involved in an incident has some level of contribution. Contribution does not mean responsibility or guilt, but it erases the right/wrong dichotomy.
4. Forgiving might look weak but it actually is incredibly empowering. No forgiveness = no healing = stuckness in resentment. Through healing our emotions and letting go of old thought patterns, we reclaim our personal power.
5. Forgiveness can involve the other person but does not have to. Forgiving can be done in the privacy of one's own heart. But sharing the process with the other party can be transformative for them as well.
And yes, the forgiveness process is as essential for serious crimes as it is for smaller issues, such as personal or professional relationship mishaps.
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” (Ghandi)