You’ve heard of buyer’s remorse, right? Well, forgiver’s remorse is similar, in that it is the feeling of regret you get after forgiving someone who has, in some way, caused you harm or pain. Forgiver’s remorse is normal, and can be managed. Here’s how:
- Keep in mind that forgiveness is a decision and not a feeling.
- Make sure your forgiveness is genuine. When you forgive to get someone else to say, “I’m sorry, too.” forgiver’s remorse will set in.
- Stay aware of the fact that you are able to forgive because you’ve been empowered with a divine perspective.
- Remember the spark—this is the moment when you made the decision to forgive. Focus on the that spark and not the surrounding circumstances.
- Know that residual pain is normal in the act of forgiveness. It was while being crucified when Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Forgiving strengthens your power over pain.
- Fear of the future repeating the past can trigger forgiver’s remorse. Control your future by controlling your thoughts. You are not a victim—choose to stay that way.
- Forgiveness doesn’t mean you don’t set appropriate boundaries. The persistence of negative people should be addressed.
After having been badly rear-ended in a car accident, I learned something. I still drove, but I maintained space between me and other vehicles—especially at a stoplight. A few weeks after my car accident, I was in traffic at a light. I made sure there was plenty of room around me. Suddenly, I heard cars crashing behind me. Bang! Bang! Bang! I knew it was a chain reaction; each car was hitting the one in front of it. I eased my car a few feet forward, thus repositioning myself into a place of safety. The car behind me was the last car hit. Learning from the past can be powerful.
- Reinforce your act of forgiveness by surrounding yourself with people who support and inspire you to move-on.
- Find a more effective way to use your mental energy than wishing for a better past.
- Once you have forgiven, don’t engage in excess conversation about what happened in the past. Give yourself space from always needing an explanation. Sometimes things are better understood after you’ve taken time away from the situation.
- Remember that you too have been in need of someone’s forgiveness; and you will need forgiveness in the future.
- The act of forgiveness is a sign that something wonderful is happening inside you.