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The Power of Forgiveness in a Relationship

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Forgiveness is one of the most important contributors in a relationship, to keep it alive & healthy. It’s also one of the hardest things to practice. Forgiveness would refer to releasing the feelings of hurt, revenge, anger, which one is holding towards another person. What is important here to remember is that forgiving someone doesn’t mean that you are taking the blame onto yourself, or that you are wrong.

Forgiveness serves a larger purpose. If there are things which you can let go of for the greater good, in this case, your relationship, wouldn’t it be better to do so? To forgive within the context of a relationship implies letting go of the minor hassles and focusing on what’s ultimately important to both partners, involved.

Forgiveness becomes essential in every relationship because the people involved are inherently different people, and forgiving enables us to acknowledge these differences. Different people have different opinions, have different ways of doing things and this list can go on.

Practising forgiveness within a relationship can enable us to recognize, accept and adjust to these differences. Having said that, forgiveness is a skill, which needs to be slowly built into your relationship. So, here are some suggestions to practise forgiveness in your relationship:

  • Focus on the positives. When we are upset about something that our partner has done / not done, we tend to focus on all the negatives about them and the relationship. Instead, it’s extremely important at this time to focus your attention on their positives.
  • Practice empathy. Why did your partner behave the way they did? For example, did they wake you up at the regular time during a holiday? Could there be reasons behind it? How would you have behaved if the tables were turned? In the end, it’s all about perspectives. When we look at things from the other person’s perspectives, it becomes easier to let go of the resentment, hurt or anger that we are feeling in that moment towards our partner.
  • Accept that apology you asked for & let it go. I often hear my clients say, “He/she apologized but I know they didn’t mean it”. An essential part of forgiveness is to take things on an “as is where is” basis. If your partner comes to you and apologizes for something, take it on face value and try to let go of that situation which caused you pain.
  • Appreciate the changes that your partner has made. Another essential aspect of forgiving is to acknowledge the changes that your partner is making and avoiding focusing on the things they still need to change but haven’t. This will not only make them feel appreciated, but also motivate them to bring in more positive changes in life. Whereas, if you continue to keep nagging them about the changes they have not made while constantly ignoring the efforts that your partner is making, it will only demotivate them.
  • Choose your battles. What are the things which are actually worth fighting about? Focus on the more essential aspects of your relationship and talk it out with your partner. But does it really matter if your partner wore the same t-shirt twice? Focus on what’s more important.
  • Finally, focus on new & happy memories. Forgiveness is about moving on, and about focusing on the positives. One way to forgive would also be to focus on creating newer & happy memories. 

Remember that it’s not an easy task to practice forgiveness. Being forgiving doesn’t make you weak. If anything, it will make you stronger and more resilient to deal with the more difficult challenges.

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