Last week, I wrote about forgiving others by giving them love. When someone wrongs you, though, giving them love can be the last thing you want to do. It’s way more satisfying to react from your gut: starting an argument or walking away upset. Neither of which constitutes giving love.
Giving love isn’t the easy thing to do. Practically speaking, it’s hard to even know where to start. The only way I know how is through boundaries.
Living in a society that praises intelligence, status and superiority above all else, we fight tooth and nail to “be right.” But proving we’re right usually means pitting ourselves against the very people we love the most, like we’re on opposing corners of a boxing ring. That’s not how relationships work.
Giving love to someone who’s wronged us doesn’t mean we let them walk all over us, but true forgiveness does mean a clean slate. It’s not weakness. If anything, it makes you stronger.
To forgive someone by giving them love means to react in a manner that is calm, patient, and understanding. It’s the difference between:
“I can’t believe you! You’re always putting me down!”
“I feel hurt by what you just said. I understand you were upset, but speaking to me like that is unacceptable.”
You won’t agree with everything people do, but you can express yourself in a way that is calm, assertive, and cordial. Like my dad always says: “Firm but friendly.”
The next time someone upsets you, surprise them by reacting not with anger but with love and patience. It’s the first step to true forgiveness.