Know that forgiveness is available to everyoneklublu/Shutterstock
Everyone has someone who’s wronged them in one way or another—be it a parent who neglected them growing up, a spouse who cheated on them in a rocky relationship, or even a person who stood them up on a set of plans. Not all these injustices result in long-lasting internal disruption—which can be identified by symptoms like fatigue, disruption in sleep, anxiety, depression, and other forms of unhealthy anger. But when they do, it’s important to know that forgiveness is an option. “When we’ve been treated deeply unfairly by others, we should have the tools to deal with that so the effects of that injustice don’t take hold in an unhealthy way,” says Robert Enright, a psychologist who pioneered the study of forgiveness, and author of Forgiveness is a Choice, which was published by the American Psychology Association. What’s more, you don’t need a mental health professional to lead you down the path of forgiveness. It’s something you can achieve on your own, as long as you know which steps to take. Here’s how to choose a therapist you can trust, according to therapists.
Decide you want to choose forgivenessshurkin son/shutterstock
The first step toward achieving forgiveness is deciding it’s something you actually want to do, not something someone has pressured you into trying. “People should not be forced into forgiving,” says Enright. “I think it’s important that people are drawn to it.” Enright also stresses that forgiveness doesn’t mean excusing or forgetting an injustice, or returning to a relationship that’s harmful. “Some people misconstrue forgiveness and say, well, if I forgive then I can’t seek fairness,” he says. “That’s one of the big criticisms of forgiveness which is not true.” Don’t miss the 14 things science has taught us about forgiveness.