When we get hurt by a friend, our emotions are layered and complicated. Someone we’ve trusted has betrayed that trust. There is almost nothing worse. We launch into a series of rationalizations, sometimes even blaming ourselves! The truth is, everyone carries the memory of hurt, holds a grudge, or resents someone. And sometimes it actually feels easier to sit in this resentment than to confront our hurt feelings and the person who caused them.
Grudges, resentments, and hurt feelings are something we choose to hold onto. But they are a block against our personal happiness. So, it’s really important that we don’t simply swallow our hurt feelings and go about our lives, business as usual. When we bottle up emotions, all sorts of bad things can happen to us, mentally and physically. We can become emotional for all the wrong reasons in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Bottling up our emotions can also lead to all sorts of nasty chronic illnesses.
So how can you release resentment, give up your grudges, and finally get over it? Use the f-word. Forgiveness will help you let go and move forward.
Start by taking a good objective look at the situation. If you are at all at fault, don’t deny your responsibility. But taking the right amount of responsibility doesn’t mean you have to take sole responsibility for your hurt feelings.
Next, say something. Honor the way you’re feeling by standing up for yourself. Don’t raise your voice. Just speak honestly. Talk about it. Put it out there, as calmly as possible. And make sure it’s a conversation, not a monologue.
Then, forgive her. Even if your friend doesn’t see her fault in a given situation, even if she doesn’t apologize, you can still forgive her. Think about her life and what she’s going through. If this person was close enough to you to be able to hurt your feelings in the first place, you probably know her pretty well. Is there a place in her life where she might be hurting? Could this be the source of her malice? If so, perhaps you can think of her with compassion. However, you may not be able to pinpoint exactly where in your friend’s life she’s hurting. You don’t have to. You only have to know, in your heart, that if she was mean to you, it’s because something inside her is hurting. And it has nothing to do with you.
Think of her with compassion and love, hope that she has the strength to deal with whatever pain she is feeling, and forgive her for hurting your feelings.
When you forgive, you are choosing to let go of your hurt feelings or your thoughts of bitterness or revenge. So really let those go. Those feelings of resentment now become illegal thoughts. They are doing you no good; in fact they are hurting you and preventing you from living fully.
Don’t expect forgiveness to change your feelings in an instant. And remember that it may be impossible to change your friend. But, by forgiving, you’re committing to a process wherein you diffuse the power that the hurt has over you. When you forgive, you feel…another f-word…FREE.