Psychologists Explain How to Truly Forgive Someone And Let Go

When others treat us the way we don’t deserve, we need to know what to do so that we protect ourselves from the negative effect of that injustice.

We all know that feeling when we are hurt by someone.

We know exactly how betrayal and mistreatment hurt.

  • Maybe you were cheated on.
  • Maybe you were neglected by your parent(s).
  • Maybe you best friend wasn’t honest with you.
  • Maybe you were rejected.
  • Maybe your friends made fun of you.
  • The list can go on and on.

These things drained you physically and emotionally. You still feel sad when you think of them.

Emotions are wrongdoing

After we are hurt, we all react differently. Some does everything to feel good again, some are neutral – or maybe numb, and others feel hopeless and desperate.

The emotions that maltreatment creates can be engraved deeply into the psyche. The reason why there are long-lasting effects of maltreatment is the following: the way our memories are wired creates a memory proportionate to the emotional arousal of the situation.
Our brain tends to remember things that had some impact on our emotions. This applies to both good and bad emotions including maltreatment and trauma. This explains why the consequences from maltreatment like depression, anxiety, insomnia and fear may last for a long period of time.

When someone experiences some of the negative emotions that we mentioned above – it is very important for your psychological health to find a way to resolve them.  That process is not easy at all; it takes time, effort and strong will. But it’s worth it in the long term, since you will feel a lot better mentally and physically.


The moment you forgive someone, something incredible happens with your mind, you feel relieved and the pain is no longer there.

Forgiveness doesn’t equal forgetting and moving on. Forgiveness takes place when you consciously choose to put an end to the desire for revenge. Yes, you can choose to forgive.
You can also forgive yourself. It sounds easy when we read about it, but it’s hard to put it in practice – it doesn’t matter whether we forgive ourselves or someone else.

Why do we face up with such problem? Because of the emotions we possess and because we tend to rationalize things. In the end, we should not feel responsible for someone else’s actions.

However, you are highly responsible for yours. You should feel responsible for both your actions and your emotions too. Finally, you are responsible for forgiveness.

But most importantly, you should feel responsible for your inner peace and happiness.


Dr. Robert Enright, researcher of all the topics connected to forgiveness, claims that the process of forgiveness includes eleven phases.


In order to begin with the process of forgiving we need to be aware that forgiveness is possible. At least, we have to accept the idea forgiveness can be a possible solution to the problem.


Nobody should force you to forgive; you need to bring that decision on your own.

As we already mentioned above, forgiveness is not about forgetting about someone’s past behaviors. In order to perceive it in the right way, we need to understand this and to become aware about the positive influence of forgiveness on our emotions.


In this step, you should take a piece of paper and write all the people who has done something wrong to you, from your childhood to present day. After you create the list, order the names from the person who hurt you the most to the person who hurt you the least.

Begin with forgiving the people from the bottom to the top.

Take all the time you need to deal with the emotion. You’ll know exactly when you are ready to move to the next step.


In this step you check out your level of anger. ‘Are you angry?’; ‘Have you been denying it? How?’; ‘Does your anger show any physical consequences? What are they?’

The moment you understand the effects of your anger, ask yourself the following question: ‘Do I want to heal myself?’


After you’ve finished with step 4, you are prepared to commit to the action of forgiveness. The moment the individuals have finished phase one, and realized the negative effect of the anger on their emotions, they should give this step a try.


The work of forgiving starts with this step. It includes making the other person think in a completely new way. Is it possible that you’ve hurt them somehow? If so, can your hurt be linked to yours?


Both of you were born, both of you bleed if you’re cut, both of you have unique DNA and since both of you are unique, when you die there will never be another person like both of you. And if we consider the humanity that you share with this individual, is there any chance that they are just as unique, special and irreplaceable as you are?


Whether you are aware or not, the actions of the other person have hardened your heart a little bit. In the end, if you carry out with the type of forgiveness recommend by Dr. Enright, you should start feeling released from the harmful anger.


Normally, you will experience strong emotions at this moment. Enright claims that you may feel a light pain, but that’s the pain that eventually let us move on.


Enright says that usually people become more self-aware of all the wounds in the world. They become more tolerable to people who are obviously having a bad day, they see that people suffer all the time, and they become more aware of the pain and suffering of people in general and want to be the channel for good energy.
After the pain is over, the reflection period starts. That’s the time when you realize two things: 1) that you are stronger than you thought you were b) you feel happier


Remember the list with the names? Well, after a few years, it’s time to look at it again.
You will be surprised how fast you have forgotten the people who made you suffer and realize that you feel strong, happy and satisfied with your life.