7 traits of people who forgive easily (even if they’ve been hurt before)

I’ve been hurt—on more than one occasion—throughout my journey in life.

Yet, as an individual who chooses to forgive—and finds solace in forgiveness—I often find myself needing to explain my choice.

The need for explanation comes in moments of vulnerability when a past hurt surfaces and someone questions why I let go of the pain so easily.

It comes from those closest to me, who worry that my capacity to forgive might make me more susceptible to getting hurt again.

It comes from friends who have been hardened by their own experiences and wonder if I truly understand the implications of forgiving those who have wronged me.

In these moments of scrutiny, I can’t help but question why it is me who has to rationalize my decision to forgive.

I believe there’s an inherent societal expectation for people to hold onto their grudges and resentment. The consequence of this expectation is that many individuals are trapped in a cycle of negativity and anger, unable to see the potential healing power of forgiveness.

In this article, I’m going to try to present to you that there is immense strength in being able to forgive, irrespective of the gravity of the hurt caused. I’ll do this by sharing 7 traits of people who forgive easily, even if they’ve been hurt before.

The essential takeaway is that our reactions should be guided by our personal choices and not by societal norms that induce fear or apprehension about embracing forgiveness.

1) They have a deep understanding of human nature

This trait can be challenging to fully grasp.

Forgiving easily” often stems from a profound comprehension of the human condition. It doesn’t arise from a naive position, but rather from acknowledging the complexities and frailties inherent in every individual.

Let me delve deeper.

Considering the people in your life. They all have their unique quirks, strengths, weaknesses, and experiences. Each person is shaped by their past, their decisions, their triumphs, and failures.

If you’re someone who forgives easily, it’s crucial to comprehend that you’re not absolving because you’re ignorant or weak. Rather, you’re doing so because you understand that humans aren’t perfect. They err. They falter.

It’s vital to shatter the illusion that forgiving means condoning wrong behavior. It doesn’t. Forgiveness is about allowing oneself to move past the hurt without allowing it to dictate your emotional state. It happens when you act empathetically and compassionately towards oneself and others.

This deep understanding of human nature, combined with empathy, often results in another essential trait: being present and supportive when it matters the most.

2) They don’t equate forgiveness with forgetting

Guidance on how to forgive often suggests “letting go completely” or “burying the hatchet”. While these are common perceptions, they don’t encapsulate the true essence of forgiveness.

Instead, genuine forgiveness comes from acknowledging the hurt and then choosing to release the resentment. It comes from remembering your experiences but not letting them control your emotions.

As a wise person once said:

“Forgive, but never forget. Do not hold onto the pain, do not hold onto the anger, but hold onto the lessons it taught you.”

When you try to “forget” all the time, you give too much power to your past. You surrender your ability to learn and grow.

Now, I give less power to my past and more power to my present. Yes, there are times when past hurts resurface. There are instances when old wounds feel fresh again. But I don’t panic over these moments anymore.

I understand that forgiveness is not about erasing my past, but about shaping a healthier emotional future.

While remembering experiences is crucial, how we process our emotions during these times is equally vital. This leads to the importance of acknowledging feelings.

3) They acknowledge their feelings

pic1575 1 7 traits of people who forgive easily (even if they've been hurt before)

It’s common to believe that forgiving is about suppressing your feelings, but sooner or later, you might find yourself overwhelmed by the unaddressed emotions.

You might even find yourself on the receiving end of those suppressed feelings. Few individuals are strong enough to sustain that kind of emotional strain.

Feelings, both positive and negative, are part and parcel of every relationship, but if you willingly suppress them while trying to forgive, you are setting yourself up for emotional turmoil.

It’s vital to introspect about the role of these feelings in your life.

Perhaps you’re struggling with forgiveness because you have genuine feelings of betrayal or hurt.

Often, we chastise ourselves for these feelings, as though they’re something we shouldn’t experience.

Maybe it’s time to accept these emotions. They might be a sign that you’re dealing with a significant issue.

Embracing your feelings doesn’t mean wallowing in them. Rather, it’s about acknowledging them as a part of the forgiveness process. By doing so, you allow yourself the space and grace to heal and move forward.

While feelings form the emotional core of forgiveness, how one acts on those feelings is the tangible manifestation of the forgiveness process.

4) They focus on their actions, not just their feelings

I started this discussion by emphasizing the understanding of human nature and acknowledging feelings.

The truth is, these aspects also influence how you react to people who have hurt you.

In your journey of forgiveness, you might get caught up in your emotions. You could become absorbed with the hurt and the pain, forgetting to see beyond it.

Your intentions for forgiveness are noble. You aspire to free yourself from the shackles of lingering resentment.

But when you get too engrossed in your feelings, you might slip into the habit of believing that your emotional response is more vital than your actions. You can lose touch with the reality that forgiveness requires more than just a mental decision—it involves conscious behavioral change.

If you judged yourself solely based on your intention to forgive, you might overlook the importance of your actions in this process.

Instead, because you don’t focus solely on your intentions or feelings, you are more capable of reflecting on your actions and changing how you behave. You learn to express your forgiveness in tangible ways, whether it’s through words, actions, or changes in attitude.

How you act towards those who have hurt you is what matters, not just the feelings that drive your behavior.

Actions indeed speak louder than words, but an essential part of this journey involves a proactive approach to personal healing and growth.

5) They are proactive in their healing

This is something I’ve learned through personal experience.

In my journey of forgiveness, I’ve realized that being passive doesn’t bring about healing. Waiting for time to heal the wounds or for the person who caused the pain to make amends hardly ever works.

I remember a time when a close friend betrayed my trust. I was deeply hurt, and at first, I thought that distancing myself and waiting for the pain to subside would help. But all it did was allow the resentment to fester.

My intentions were pure—I wanted to forgive and move on. But my passive approach was not bringing about the healing I desired.

Instead, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I consciously worked on releasing the resentment. I sought therapy, journaled about my feelings, and even had a candid conversation with my friend about what had transpired.

By being proactive in my healing process, I found myself truly forgiving and moving forward. It wasn’t just about saying “I forgive you” but about taking tangible steps towards healing.

So, from personal experience, I can say that people who forgive easily are those who are proactive in their journey towards emotional healing.

Besides personal healing, another compelling reason that drives individuals towards forgiveness is an understanding of its profound health benefits.

6) They understand the health benefits of forgiveness

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People who forgive easily are often aware of the profound impact it has on their overall well-being. Research has shown that holding onto grudges, anger, and resentment can lead to numerous health problems, including high blood pressure and heart disease.

Here is the main point:

This understanding encourages them to prioritize forgiveness, to comprehend its significance beyond the emotional spectrum, and to acknowledge its contribution to their physical health.

For those struggling with forgiveness, knowing about these health benefits can provide an additional reason to let go. It’s a reminder that their choice to forgive is not just about mending emotional wounds, but also about nurturing their body and mind.

Understanding the health benefits of forgiveness allows them to see their journey of forgiveness as part of a larger wellness narrative and can provide a sense of purpose towards achieving better health and inner peace.

But beyond all these benefits, it’s essential to note that forgiveness isn’t always about seeking resolution or neatly wrapping up past events.

7) They don’t always seek closure

It’s a common belief that forgiveness is about seeking closure, about tying loose ends neatly. But people who forgive easily understand that this isn’t always the case.

Forgiveness is not always a neatly packaged process with a clear beginning, middle, and end. It doesn’t always involve conversations with the person who caused the hurt or getting the answers to why it happened.

Sometimes, forgiveness is about accepting the lack of closure. It’s about understanding that not all questions will be answered, not all wounds will completely heal, and that’s okay.

This acceptance doesn’t make the act of forgiveness any less significant. In fact, it adds to its power. It’s a testament to the strength of those who can forge ahead despite the lack of closure, carrying with them the lessons learned but leaving behind the weight of resentment.

In essence, people who forgive easily appreciate that forgiveness is not about finding closure but about finding peace within oneself despite the uncertainties.

Bottom line: It’s a personal journey

The complexities of human emotions and choices often have deep-seated connections with our personal experiences and perspectives.

One such connection is the relationship between individuals and their capacity to forgive, even when faced with profound hurt.

This capacity, prevalent in many resilient individuals, acts as a cornerstone of emotional intelligence and personal growth, playing a pivotal role in their overall well-being.

For people who forgive easily, their personal experiences and understanding of human nature might be key factors in their inclination towards forgiveness. Their perspective could potentially induce a sense of peace and liberation when they choose to let go of resentment.

Whether it’s releasing their anger after a heated argument, finding the strength to forgive a major betrayal, accepting an apology without any expectations, or simply forgiving themselves for past mistakes, the underlying trait is their ability to choose forgiveness over resentment.

As the renowned author and holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel rightly said, “Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.”

It’s not about the other person or the wrong that was done; it’s about liberating oneself from the emotional chains of resentment.

In essence, the journey of forgiveness is deeply personal and unique to each individual. It’s about finding peace within oneself amidst the chaos of hurt and betrayal. It’s about choosing love over hate, understanding over judgment, and most importantly, it’s about choosing yourself.

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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