Emotional wounds, whether from words said in anger, or something even morehurtful, need to be cleaned for optimal healing. In the case of emotions, cleansingcan come in several forms. A sincere apology (which means willingness to change)on the part of the person who lashed out, can help
but the best cleansing is one
that doesn’t leave you vulnerable to someone else’s outbursts. In order to heal, youneed to know you won’t be repeatedly wounded. Unless a true apology, with
evidence of real change, is offered, then you must stand up for yourself, and tell
the hurtful person that you won’t tolerate the behavior again (and be willing to act
Giving the other person an “adult time out” (retreat into cold politeness—
withdrawfrom emotional attachment until you get a sincere apology) not only will
demonstrate that you’re not willing to be abused, it will also send a signal to youthat you’re taking care of yourself. That creates the emotional climate for healing totake place. Once you know you’ll take care of yourself, the wound h
eals, and youcan then move on to forgiveness.
Forgiving Your Partner
No matter how much you care, and how hard you try, when you get close to eachother, you will occasionally get hurt. Even people who are responsible and careabout each other make mistakes, because no one can be 100% aware, and because
it’s not always easy to understand what's important to another person. This
emotional clumsiness can hurt, even when it's unintentional, so you need to knowhow to clear up the hurts when they happen. The power to resolve and let go of oldhurts, while learning to protect yourself from being hurt again, is one of the mostuseful skills when it comes to intimate relationships.
Forgiving for Real
Forgiveness is not easy. When you have truly forgiven, there is no lingeringresentment, because the problem is solved. You have learned how to heal the hurtand prevent its reoccurrence, so you can forgive and wipe the slate clean. Knowinghow to express feelings and figuring out a way to prevent a similar hurt fromhappening again makes it possible to forgive each other.
The dictionary defines to forgive as “to give up resentment of” but my definition of
forgiving is a bit different. Giving up resentment is nearly impossible when there