Being forgiving is perhaps one of the hardest things to instill in someone. But radical forgiveness is a new way to help you open your heart and find in yourself the capacity to let go.

Yet some will say: why should I forgive? Some people hurt me irreversibly, and they didn’t even say sorry! While understandable, you also need to acknowledge what possible benefits you can gain when forgiving. In this case, it is more about healing yourself instead. 

Are you ready to open your heart? Come, let’s take the journey to radical forgiveness together!

Why is it called “radical forgiveness”?

Radical forgiveness is important because of its emphasis on forgiving. In fact, this method forgives regardless of who’s at fault. It is radical because is not so much for the offender but rather for the well-being and inner peace of the forgiver.

The primary motive behind this is to ensure that a person has learned to let go and move on from the past. Only when they free themselves by what weighs them down can they genuinely come to live a life of peace and contentment.

What can I get from doing radical forgiveness?

One of the primary benefits of forgiving others is the improvement of one’s psycho-emotional state. Like anyone who had been wronged and held grudges against someone, seeing their offender can ruin someone’s day.

Such feelings can inadvertently lead to stress. This may then either cause or worsen physical deterioration and mental health struggles. Holding grudges can also cause emotional wounds to fester and traumas to become even more deep-seated. 

While part of the healing process involves therapy, you can never go wrong from accepting what has been for the sake of one’s well-being. As you let go of your anger, fears, and anxieties towards a person, so too does your inner peace come closer within your reach.

But the person I hate didn’t say sorry. They don’t deserve my radical forgiveness!

Yes, and we understand that. But radical forgiveness is the act that will give you closure and a chance to heal the wounds you have been trying to patch up after all this time.

Remember in our last point how we emphasized that forgiveness aims to improve your overall health? That only shows how radical forgiveness is there to help you and not your offender.

Yes, they may not deserve your kindness, grace, nor forgiveness, but you deserve to live a life where they don’t live rent-free in your head. If anything, you deserve not to overthink what they have done to you. 

Think of it this way: do you indeed remember the things that make you feel good and happy? Generally, you don’t because the human mind is more inclined to remember the bad memories.

When forgiving someone, you are saying goodbye to the pain and burdens that your bad memories of them are giving you. Yes, they may come back every once in a while, but it will not be as bad anymore because you realized that it is what it is.

Another good thing that can come out of forgiving your wrongdoers is that it can help you ease your relationships with others. For example, one of your closest friends betrayed you by sharing your secret, 

This event may have caused you to mistrust others, along with living with the false belief that friendship can do you more harm and good. 

Forgiving someone also means that you are allowing yourself to trust once more…restoring your faith in humanity. After all, everyone may be imperfect, but only too few are heartless.

When can I practise radical forgiveness?

Anytime! Radical forgiveness does not need any kind of ceremony. Most people would just sit down, reflect, and mull over what had happened to them before finally forgiving in their hearts. 

But in terms of how long between your bad event and the day of your forgiveness, this part is up to you. Some people stay angry at their offender for days, some even years.

Regardless, all the negative things you feel are valid.  You can choose to give yourself a pause. You need to process everything. If you need to, go through the so-called five stages of grief as you try to grapple with everything that transpired.

Eventually, though, you’ll have to face reality. When you’re ready, search in yourself the willingness to forgive and let go of the “what had been” for the “what will be.”

Do not force yourself to do this act, though, as forgiveness may become a burden for you. Be at your own time and pace, and be your source of peace.

I’m now ready to forgive someone. How can I practice radical forgiveness?

Step 1: Re-assess the Situation

First, be aware of the status quo. This step can be the hardest and the most painful one to practice, but acknowledging what has happened is the first step… and will make things easier from this point on. 

If you need to, write down all that you think and feel about what has happened in a journal. Do this as often as you want, and do not hold back. Be honest with yourself and let it all out.

Next, you need to understand that getting revenge will do you no good. After someone has hurt them, most people might resort to nefarious means to get back. Some might resort to gaslighting or even physical abuse

Unfortunately, these acts will not make someone any better than their offender. Sometimes, it may even make them even worse!

Many people think that l high road is too much of a martyr act or, worse, entirely stupid and unnecessary. For those that need emotional healing, though, this is crucial.

You cannot change what happened, and if you choose to have your revenge, things may even worsen. You may not even feel satisfied, and you will emerge as the villain, especially if your vengeful act was worse than the mistake against you.

Step 2: Re-assess yourself

After this, you need to ask yourself how you truly see what has happened to you. Naturally, you were hurt, angry, and for some, even betrayed by the person who once mattered so much.

Yet beyond these emotions, you have to ask yourself how it affects your present. Be as objective as possible when doing this, though. Being too subjective may only get you back to square one.

Now to clarify: this does not mean that you have to subscribe to toxic positivity. Instead, this act is for you to improve your sense of self.

Was it a petty fight that went out of control? Is it a major life-changing event that still rocks you to the core until the present? Regardless of what that event was, you have to digest it bit by bit to understand your situation.

This act will also help you point out the specific things that may have hurt you. This way, you can find ways that will help you find the suitable methods to achieve the closure that you need.

This whole part can get quite painful, though. And this cannot happen in one sitting. You may even bounce back and forth between all the steps while also bringing within you the pain and suffering caused by your offender.

But you have come this far. You are ready to forgive, and you just need time to process everything so that you can emerge stronger and better than before.

Trust the process. Endure. It will get better, and YOU WILL BECOME STRONGER.

BONUS TIP: Try out Reiki Healing Crystal Techniques to fast track forgiveness! 

What if I was the one who hurt someone? How do I receive radical forgiveness?

First of all, thank you. It is a true act of courage to acknowledge your wrongdoing. Not many can truly live up to such a challenge. 

At this point, though, you cannot do anything but ask forgiveness. It is too late to do anything except that since you already did the deed.

The least you can do is to ask the person’s forgiveness with sincerity in your heart. Do not expect, though, that the person whom you’ve hurt will forgive you that easily.

Your act of reaching out, though, may help the person become aware that you are sorry for what you have done. From there on, you will have to wait until the person you’ve offended will finally find the strength to forgive you.

But you also need to remember that you should not be pushy in making the offended party forgive you. As detailed earlier, it can be a long and painful process that is neither linear nor easily doable.

The best you can do now is to wait patiently and rebuild the trust that the person has lost in you. Things may not go back to what they were before, but at least you reached out and are willing to own up to your mistakes.

I have forgiven that person, but I suddenly felt a wave of negative emotions when I saw them. Am I allowed to feel this way?

Of course! If anything, it is your subconscious trying to protect you from harm. Think of it as the hairs on your arms standing up when you feel cold or scared!

While these emotions are naturally occurring, you also have to be aware of what you honestly feel towards the person. If you allow yourself to be taken away by this rush of emotion, your hard work and effort in your journey to healing and closure may end up wasted.

If you feel uncomfortable with that person’s presence, do not hesitate to leave that area and collect yourself. You do not have to go back and face them. Instead, you need to recalibrate your thoughts and remind yourself that your inability to interact with your offender is not a weakness.

Tell yourself that it is normal (which it is). Take deep breaths and remember all you have done and that you are stronger. If you have someone you trust with you, tell them how you feel so that they are aware and help you in one way or another.

Should you reach the point where you can finally see your offender eye to eye, you are in no way obliged to rekindle your old relationship with them. If you wish to rebuild your trust in them, make sure that both of you are together in this mission to make things work between them and you.

But if you choose to burn your bridges for good, do so in a civilized and polite manner. Regardless of what you choose to happen, choose kindness and being the bigger person.

Closing Thoughts

Radical forgiveness truly is unconventional. Unlike common forgiveness advice that goes along the lines of “forgive and forget” or “revenge is a dish best served cold,” it calls to the offended party to focus on themselves.

Rather than focusing too much on feelings, it also urges the forgiver to rationalize things and acknowledge what they truly felt about their situation. This way, they can think everything through in a more organized manner.

The process can be complex, and going through it will almost certainly reawaken the deep emotional trauma. You may have kept these pains for so long. But through this method, you can finally confront what has been haunting you and emerge stronger regardless of what has happened.

For the offender’s part, it recognizes the fact that “to err is human; to forgive, divine.” However, it also emphasizes their accountability for the hurt that they have caused.

No matter what a person’s role was, radical forgiveness aims to bring a sense of closure and peace. When done right, it can indeed be the way for reconciliation for all parties involved.

What about you? When and to whom will you start your quest for forgiveness and peace?