The process of forgiving is most challenging when we've experienced a great deal of pain and suffering. How do we let go of the hurt that has been caused by someone we once loved and trusted the most? Although it's difficult, we can learn how to release the feelings and begin living freely instead of holding on to pain and resentment.

Forgiveness is an act that is difficult to proceed with if we do not understand the intention. Whether the person was a relative, confidant or loved one who we willingly trusted and cared for - the feeling of betrayal can cause us all to hold grudges and anger toward someone who decided to make a hurtful decision. Holding this grudge for an extended period of time can change how we trust, act and envision relationships. Having to forgive or accept betrayal is a tough undertaking. Forgiveness plays a role in the healing process and the only way that we can forgive is if we understand that the betrayal was not the fault of your own. In order to forgive we have to acknowledge the problem which isn't easy if we have suppressed it for a long period of time. By turning to therapy we can benefit from learning how to face what has happened and come to understand it instead of allowing it to control our behavior. Counseling teaches us how to use tools that helps eliminate painful memories associated with one or more relationships.

Challenges Faced by Forgiveness

It's a part of human behavior to retaliate when we have been hurt by someone around us. This pain has the power to weaken our pride and damage our self worth. The expectations that we had of another person can create disappointment, causing us to feel as if we lost something and someone extremely valuable. There are resistances that keep us from forgiving. When another person hurts us we might attach an internal cause to the behavior and assume that it is a part of their personality trait. It's most difficult to have empathy toward someone who has caused us emotional and mental pain. It's most important to remember that forgiveness plays a part in our feelings and our level of health. The act of letting go isn't an overnight accomplishment and it will take time. By seeking therapy we can learn how to find forgiveness within ourselves and let go of this resentment. The act of releasing has the power to eliminate imprisoning feelings so that we can build healthy relationships.

Forgiveness and External Relationships

By learning how to forgive and let go we'll benefit from future relations that are more rewarding. If we hold on to anger and distrust we can make assumptions toward others and their intentions within the relationship. Being vulnerable seems impossible if we have already assumed that everyone else is going to hurt us with the same intentions. The inability to open up can prevent us from finding support, love and care with new friends and loved ones. By forgiving and learning that it is okay to approach relationships vulnerably we will gain more than if we were to make a similar assumption toward the majority of people. Each of us can relate back to a time in which we were hurt by a decision that someone else made. Ironically enough, the walls that we build and protect ourselves with can end up damaging us by rejecting people who want to help and act as a support system. As we forgive someone we can accept the mistake, face the pain associated with it and learn how to love again.

How Therapy Can Help

Therapy will show us how forgive by challenging rules that lead to distrust. We all have enforceable rules within ourselves such as the promise of love, care and attentiveness. When we admit that we are unable to control others it softens these demands. We naturally set high expectations which can lead to pain and irrational assumptions. Counseling will help us learn how to live freely without high demands and rules. Making the decision to let go of anger doesn't mean that you are leading a passive life. After betrayal you can benefit from learning new skills such as assertiveness and awareness. The hard part is letting go of the assumptions. Before we can heal we must learn how to admit that we were hurt and let go of the damage inflicted toward our pride. As you work with a therapist you'll learn how to free yourself of shame and increase your sense of self worth using healing strategies. You will benefit from learning how to envision yourself in a new light and restore your sense of responsibility. Counseling can help you look at a negative occurrence and find a redeeming side of it so that you can live freely instead of behind resentment and distrust.

Help Us Improve This Article

Did you find an inaccuracy? We work hard to provide accurate and scientifically reliable information. If you have found an error of any kind, please let us know by sending an email to, please reference the article title and the issue you found.

Share Therapedia With Others