What do you feel when you think about someone who hurt you in the past? Anger, resentment, rage, disappointment, pain? I guess pretty negative emotions. If you want to become free from this past experience and feel better, one of the ways to do it is to forgive this person.
In this post, I will tell, how to write a forgiveness letter and how it can help you let the past go and finally feel better.
Table Of Contents
1. Two Things to Remember Before You Start
The first thing to remember: when you forgive someone, you don’t do it for them, you do it for yourself. Writing a forgiveness letter is a tool for self-healing. That should be your motivation. By writing a forgiveness letter, you make a gift to yourself. You will feel better. You do it for yourself and not for your offender.
The second thing to remember: you should not try to forgive someone too fast. If you are not ready and do it too quickly, by missing some important stages, you can delay your healing. You should not skip the moment when you let yourself feel all your negative emotions. It is crucial to give yourself enough time to process all the feelings and emotions you had in the past and maybe still have some of them.
The opposite problem of forgiving too fast is when someone thinks: “I will never forgive them. What they’ve done is horrible and unacceptable”. If you have these thoughts, it’s not helping you. When you continue to leave with your anger and resentment, the only person you are punishing is you.
However, if you are reading this post, you are probably already looking for a way to forgive. In this case, it’s quite likely that you don’t have an idea that you will never forgive. But if you do, try to see the forgiveness process as something you do for yourself, not for the other person.
Writing a forgiveness letter is a powerful tool for self-healing. It helped me a lot when I was doing it. It helped many other people, and I am sure that it will also help you.
2. How to Write a Forgiveness Letter?
Writing a forgiveness letter could take several days, and it’s better not to rush it. However, it depends on your specific situation. How significant was it? How close were you to this person? Is it a one-time thing or not? By answering these questions, you can decide whether you can write the letter in one shot or you need 3 days to go through the whole process.
Chose a calm place where you will not be disturbed. Do it alone, so you can do anything you need or want. It’s important to be real and honest with yourself.
3. Day one – Release the Anger
The main aim of the first stage is to release all your negative emotions. Maybe you didn’t have a chance to say what you wanted to say. Maybe they even didn’t know that they hurt. Or maybe they did know. Each situation is different, but the first day of the letter is used to let you feel all the emotions.
Write everything that comes to your mind. Don’t censor yourself, be real, be honest. Get out all your feelings, all the anger, and rage. Write everything you want to say to this person. Don’t try to be good here. At this moment, no one is watching, reading, or judging. You should also not judge yourself. This is the moment for your emotions. Don’t try to evaluate them. You are doing it to become free from these emotions.
It can be a bit difficult to start writing. But once you do it, you should see how more and more things you want to write. Maybe something about you hadn’t said or done, but you wanted to. When you write, address your offender. Tell them how they hurt you, how it has affected you and your life. Write everything you feel and think about it now. Write what you were feeling in the past.
You deserve to have time and place to release all your feelings. Don’t keep them inside. When you write all this on paper, you are removing everything that you were keeping inside yourself.
Continue writing as long as you have something to say or as long as you feel these negative emotions. When you start getting tired from this and have nothing else to say, you can stop. You will continue this letter on the next day.
4. Day two – Process Emotional Pain
Take your notebook and start writing again. You need to release the rest of the emotions. Some people can still have a lot of anger, aggression, and maybe a desire for revenge. There is nothing wrong with it. You can even write about what you want to do because no one will see it. And after you finish your forgiveness letter, the idea of revenge should go away. But now you need to let yourself get out all the feelings.
However, quite often on the second day, you can feel more sadness, pain, and disappointment rather than anger or rage. Write about this. How deeply did they hurt you? How did it affect you and your life? How did you feel after it had happened?
Allow yourself to be vulnerable while you are writing about pain and sadness. It could be challenging, but it will help you.
Depending on the person, it will be different. For someone, the first day will be the most difficult because usually, they don’t allow themselves to feel anger. For other people, it may be much more difficult to admit their pain because they don’t want to be vulnerable. And for someone, the third day will be the most difficult one.
When you see that some part is more difficult for you, give yourself enough time to go through it. Remind yourself that no one will ever read it and that you are doing it for yourself and your healing. You are doing to become free.
Continue to write until you feel that there is nothing else to say. Maybe you feel some emptiness without any emotions left. That’s a good moment to stop.
5. Day three – Accept, Forgive and Move Forward
On this day, you will need to decide to forgive the person who hurt you.
There is no magical way to do it. But once you have released all your negative emotions, you should already feel a bit better and calmer. One thing that you can do is trying to separate the person and their deed. In this case, you will need to forgive only the person, but you don’t need to accept what they’ve done. You can still feel that their deed was not ok. Maybe it was really something terrible and unacceptable. The person who did it is responsible for it, and they will have to live with it.
In this part of the letter, you can write that you accept that you can’t change the past. It has already happened, and you can’t go back in time. You also can’t change another person. But what you can do is to decide on how you will continue to live with it. Will you continue to have any relationship with that person by setting some boundaries? Or maybe you will never talk to this person again? It all depends on your specific situation. It’s important to make some decisions, but forgiving is not about this.
Forgiving is about becoming free from your negative emotions and this past experience. By doing it, you help yourself to heal. Instead, if you continue to keep the anger and resentment, they will slowly destroy you. You don’t want to carry this baggage of negative emotions.
When you understand you can’t change the past, you will see that you can change the present. By changing the way you feel now, you will also change your future. You can create a better future for yourself.
Write all your thoughts about accepting, becoming free, and moving forward. But remember, I don’t encourage you to accept the deed of your offender, just the fact that it has already happened and you can’t change the past.
The person who hurt will have to live with what they’ve done. It is their deed and responsibility, not yours. You don’t have to carry it with you. You don’t have to keep this person in your thoughts forever. Don’t punish yourself by doing it. It’s time to become free.
After you finish the letter, you will need some closure. If you keep this letter, you may decide to read it. By doing it, you will start to go through this again. But the main aim of the forgiveness letter is to leave the past in the past, so it will not influence you anymore. You need to become free from this.
6. Get Rid of the Letter and Become Free
One of the ways to get closure is to burn the letter. It will give you a lot of relief. When you burn the letter and look at the fire, you see how all this disappears. It helps to feel how your negative emotions disappear together with this letter. It’s an amazing feeling to become free from the past.
However, if you don’t have an opportunity to burn the letter or don’t want to, you can do something else. For example, you can tear it into small pieces and throw it away. The main thing is not to keep it. Get rid of it in any way you want.
Writing a forgiveness letter is a gift for yourself. It will help you to feel better now and to create a better future for yourself. If you do it, you will definitely see the difference.
If you want to know more about dealing with negative past experiences read my post Murray Method review.
For more information about personal growth, transformation and self-healing visit my youtube channel.