How to Forgive a Family Member that Has Hurt You

Family relationships can get complicated, especially when someone hurts your feelings. There’s pressure to forgive and forget as quickly as possible because they’re family but that’s not realistic. Emotional pain take can take time to remedy and heal, sometimes more so when it’s someone in your family. Below are four healthy ways to forgive a family member who has hurt you.

1. Talk to them

It’s never good to leave feelings bottled up inside. Often this will lead to hurt feelings deepening or a sudden outburst of uncontrolled emotion when you least expect it. Let the family member know that you would like to sit down and talk with them.

Once you find a good time and place, let them know what’s on your heart. This doesn’t mean ranting or getting upset with them. Instead, tell them what they did and why it hurt your feelings. Not only will this help you get the pressure off your chest, but it can help assure that something similar won’t happen again.

2. Remind yourself of all the great things they have done for you

This isn’t meant to discount the wrong that they have done, but reminding yourself of their good qualities can help you see them from a different perspective. When you remind yourself of the times they made you feel loved, you’ll remember that they aren’t all bad.

Once you begin to see them as more than their mistakes, the process of healing and forgiveness can commence. Now they aren’t painted as a villain but a family member; someone you know and love. It’s much easier to forgive someone you love than someone who seems like a villain.

3. Write about it

This may sound cliché, but journaling about your feelings can help you sort through them. In the heat of the moment, it is best to let feelings settle before you approach the person. You don’t want to say something that you’ll regret later or something that could escalate the situation further.

Instead, find a quiet place to write down how you feel in a notebook. Get all the angry, mean thoughts out. Explain what they did and why you feel hurt. Get every thought down. By doing this, you’ll be venting out your heated emotions and when the time comes time to talk to them, you’ll be able to stay focused and not get off track.

4. Put yourself in their shoes

No one is immune to making mistakes. Perhaps you have hurt someone’s feelings in the past whether you knew about it or not. Now, put yourself in your family member’s shoes; the one who has hurt you. Would you want to be forgiven? Would you want your mistake to follow you around and break that relationship forever?

It can be hard to give empathy to someone who hurt you, but viewing the situation from their point of view can help. It puts everything into perspective. No one likes to feel the harsh sting of knowing they’ve hurt someone. If you were them, you would hope that you could be forgiven. Extend that courtesy to your family member.

Forgiving someone can be hard, no matter who they are. Don’t expect hurt feelings to be alleviated immediately, but if you take actionable steps, a mend can occur. Give the situation time to breath with journaling, putting yourself in their shoes and then talking with them in person. Everyone will feel better once the hurt feelings are out in the open and addressed.

Featured Image: Shutter Stock

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