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Many times in our lives, we will come across people who choose to do us wrong. They may betray our trust or treat us with disrespect. They will enter our lives only thinking of themselves or their own goals. Throughout their journey, they may hurt us in ways that are hard to forgive. Sometimes they may not even notice that they have harmed us in some way. If someone like this has left you wondering how to forgive someone who’s not sorry, then this post is for you.
However, harboring negative feelings towards others can be just as harmful to you as it is to them. It can cause unneeded stress and anxiety. Negativity can eat at us from the inside and cause us to make decisions that are not beneficial to us or those around us.
Even in the most difficult situations, we need to show grace to others. Even when we feel hurt, it can be helpful and healthy to forgive others. So, how do you forgive someone who isn’t sorry?
The Benefits of Forgiveness
Keeping negativity bottled in can be dangerous. It can cause added stress and anxiety that is incredibly harmful to our bodies and our minds. Forgiveness can be a gift of peace to both the giver and the receiver.
When we forgive others – even when we learn how to forgive someone who isn’t sorry – we lower our stress levels and invite happiness into our lives. The more that we are willing to forgive others, the more success we will reap later in life. Forgiveness is not only an absolution of wrongdoing but also a commitment to empathy and understanding. When we lead with empathy and understanding, good things will come our way.
Forgiveness is like a seed. When we take the time to plant it, water it, and watch it grow, we receive a sense of accomplishment. Those we choose to forgive now may come back to form wonderful and loving relationships with us again. When we give people a second chance, they more often than not will surprise you with love.
Still, while forgiveness may sound good in theory, actually learning how to forgive someone who’s not sorry is sometimes easier said than done. Use these 5 tips to make the process a little easier.
How to Forgive Someone Who’s Not Sorry
1. Lead With Love
It can be easy to lead with hate and distrust after we’ve been hurt. However, if we were looking to be the bigger person and let go of any resentment, we must lead with love. Love for others, love for ourselves, and love for the relationships that we hold dear.
When we lead with love we are far more likely to be empathetic to others. When we leave with love, we give others grace and allow ourselves to handle situations with that same grace. Leading with love will not only make it easier to forgive people, but it will also help empty all the negativity that you may be holding on to. When we want to treat everyone with love, it is important to listen, learn, and lead the situation we want to heal.
Leading with love means finding the good in everyone, including yourself. When we lead with love, we don’t look for ways that we could be angry. Instead, we look for ways that we can feel at peace. We learn how to forgive someone who isn’t sorry.
Leading with love means putting ourselves aside to empathize with someone else. Leading with love can also mean that we are doing what is best for ourselves. This is a form of self-love. If we identify that someone doesn’t deserve our forgiveness because they caused us true harm, we’re still loving ourselves. However, it is important to work past our negative feelings about the situation to find the positive.
2. Identify Their Intentions
When someone hurts us, it is natural to get angry. It is hard to understand why someone would perform the actions they performed if they knew that they would hurt you. But in most situations, the person who needs forgiveness may not even know that they did wrong in the first place. To be the bigger person, you must reflect on the situation and identify their intentions.
It is important to ask yourself some questions when identifying why someone did the thing that they did. What was their end goal? What were they going through at the moment? How did they want the conversation or action to end up?
When we ask ourselves these questions it may become clearer how to forgive someone who’s not sorry. It may be easier to see that the person that requires forgiveness did not act on purpose. Even if they did, these questions can make it easier to see that there was no malicious intent.
When we identify someone’s intentions, it is easier to be the bigger person and forgive them for what they’ve done – even if they don’t think they’ve done anything wrong and even without an apology. A misunderstanding of intentions is the most common reason people do not see eye to eye when it comes to forgiveness.
3. Take a Walk in Their Shoes
In addition to identifying intentions, it is important to understand someone else’s condition when they wronged you and in the current moment. When we take a walk in another person’s shoes, it becomes easier to empathize with what they’re going through. We may see but the difficulty of their lives is directly affected by their actions. They may have chosen to do certain things because it made sense to them at the time. They may have caused hurt because they themselves were hurting. It is possible that at the moment, their only option was to do what they did.
When we empathize with others, we can often see the choices they make are far more about themselves than there are about us. This process can help us learn how to forgive someone who’s not sorry.
Taking the time to think about someone else’s life makes it easier for us to forgive them – even if they haven’t apologized. In the grand scheme of things, the thing that requires an apology may be insignificant. In the big picture, forgiveness can be far more beneficial to everyone involved. When we forgive others, we give them and ourselves a second chance.
4. Mitigate the Damage
The best thing that you can do for the future of the relationship is to control the amount of damage that you allow the negative interaction to do. This will also make your forgiveness feel more valuable in the future. When we truly assess the situation and determine the level of harm done, we may see that the effect of the situation on our lives is minimal. The hurt we feel could be minimized if we control the situation.
That being said, it is important to truly assess the damage. Figuring out how to forgive someone who’s not sorry isn’t always the best option. However, in most cases, it may be clear that by being the bigger person and learning how to forgive we can reduce the harm that was done to us and use it as a point of growth.
When we forgive people that hurt us, we grow as individuals and foster a second chance within our relationships. So, next time someone does you wrong and does not seem sorry for it, check to see if you were truly hurt by their actions or just feel disrespected by their lack of apology. We should never allow the downfalls of others to also cause downfalls within ourselves.
5. Set Boundaries for the Future
After we forgive someone who is not sorry, the conversation doesn’t end there. The next step is to establish boundaries for the future that can help mitigate any damage. These boundaries will differ for each situation, so it is important to establish them mindfully.
Forgiveness does not mean that we have to go back to normal. Even if we forgive someone for something that they have done to us, we do not have to pretend like it never happened. The dynamic of the relationship should evolve based on the forgiveness given. Especially if someone is not sorry for their actions, we should not allow them to hurt us again.
Being clear about your boundaries is a great way to make sure that this person understands their role in your life. You can forgive their past actions while still managing expectations for the future.
How to Set Boundaries After Forgiveness
Your new boundaries should be clear and concise. Even though you have forgiven this person, you most likely do not trust them in the same way. The quality of your relationship will change, but that doesn’t mean it has to end. The boundaries that you set can be physical or emotional. Maybe you spend less time with this person. Maybe you prioritize their needs less than your own. Maybe you no longer rely on them for the things you have in the past.
Whatever your boundaries are make sure that both you and the other person know what they are and why they are in place. When people wrong us, it is important to forgive them and allow them to rebuild their trust.
How To Forgive Someone Who’s Not Sorry – And Move On
As hurt or angry as we may be when someone does us wrong, it’s important for us to consider forgiving the person. By no means am I condoning wrongdoing, but I am saying that for our own mental well-being, we should consider letting go of bitterness and resentment.
I know that forgiveness takes time and I know that the difficulty may vary according to the situation. I also know that when you choose to forgive, you can move forward being happier and healthier.
Need more help navigating hurt and forgiveness? Journaling about the situation, the way that you’re feeling and your relationship with the person involved may help. Download a free journal writing exercise to help guide you in this process.