Explore the 4 Stages of Forgiveness

Free yourself by learning how to forgive.


Let go and free yourseld.

(Billion Photos / Shutterstock.com)

Forgiveness opens the door to healing, liberation, and emotional renewal. It’s a journey that requires patience, self-compassion, and a commitment to your well-being, according to the Mayo Clinic. A testament to inner strength and resilience, forgiveness is  something to celebrate. 

As with any transformative process, forgiveness evolves over time to gradually release negative emotions while restoring inner peace. It allows you to gradually release your burden of resentment and pain to begin living a more meaningful life. By navigating through different stages of forgiveness, you'll uncover the art of healing and transformation. 

On your path toward healing, remember that your true power lies within. Here's your roadmap through four stages of forgiveness:

Acknowledgment and awareness
Pain can derive from all different sources, whether it’s friends, family, or even a stranger. Regardless of where the pain originated, creating awareness around it can help you move forward, according to Verywell Mind 

To forgive, you must first acknowledge the pain and hurt you have experienced. Allow your mind to wander back to what caused this pain and hurt, and take some time to reflect. Journaling offers a safe outlet to explore your emotions and help you gain clarity about your experience. Naturally, you may feel a range of emotions, from anger and sadness to betrayal and frustration. 

At this step, take time to assess how holding on to negative feelings has affected you mentally and emotionally. Remember that forgiveness does not involve justifying another's wrongdoing but freeing yourself of resentments that keep holding you back from living life fully. Embrace your emotions  as you work toward forgiveness.

Acceptance and understanding 
You will enter the acceptance and understanding stage as your forgiveness journey advances. Here your perspective broadens significantly, according to Positive Psychology. You may no longer feel victimized by actions taken against you. By understanding what may have caused others actions, you can release longing for things to be different and welcome inner peace.

To work through an emotional crisis, practice empathy by putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. While doing this doesn't equate to condoning their actions but rather acknowledging they may have their own issues and imperfections as people.

Changing perspective allows you to recognize shared human experiences. As a result, you can break down the rigid walls of resentment while opening up paths toward forgiveness.

Release and healing
It’s time to release that which no longer serves you. Reducing your feelings of resentment requires taking small, conscious steps towards letting go of negative emotions, according to a blog on Tiny Buddha. Doing this requires both courage and an ability to detach from past pain. Forgiveness should only ever come from within you, not from someone else who wronged you.

Practice techniques such as journaling or meditation to help release these emotions. Imagine that weight being lifted off your shoulders as you release all that emotional burden; visualize freedom as soon as forgiveness takes effect!

Transformation and empowerment 
Finally, you enter an exciting phase of profound transformation and fresh empowerment, according to the meditation app Insight Timer. Your journey has been one of personal growth and introspection; now it is time for liberation! From a place of forgiveness, you can bring in the energy of freedom. You are liberated from past grievances which bind you, unlocking a brighter future.

Within this stage, focus on setting boundaries to protect your emotional well-being while preventing potential harm. Also, practice gratitude to let go of past regrets and embrace the lessons learned. By expressing gratitude, you can not only feel empowered, but you can find your anchor during life’s storms. 

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