Nobody likes to be let down. Whether the offending party is a friend, family member, colleague or partner, you’re going to hurt for a while. And you’re quite entitled to think less of that person for some time. But once the dust has settled, consider one thing: Does your disappointment or bitterness towards the wrongdoer make you any happier overall? Or are you simply being stubborn?
We all hold grudges of some sort at some time in our lives. Anybody who claims otherwise probably has a selective memory. But you must always put the target of the grudge in context. Did he or she truly intend to negatively impact your life? Or was your disappointment a by-product of a wider issue? How important was the indiscretion? Could it prove permanently detrimental to your personal or professional life?
All of these questions will help you to determine the level of forgiveness you should aim for. But some sort of clemency is invariably the best option. Because holding on to anger indefinitely could prove to be the most detrimental thing of all. You need to be the stronger person and move on.
Whether you feel the relationship is fully or only partially reparable, there are a few steps you can take to ease the process.
Come to Terms with the Betrayal
When you’ve been let down, it’s crucial that you get your head around what happened before confronting the other party. Find out the truth and don’t lose your cool. You could damage a relationship needlessly by shouting accusations that have only partial or no basis in fact. Yes, it’s a cliché to say that time is a healer. But you should give yourself the chance to fully comprehend the situation using all other sources available to you. That way, there’s a greater opportunity to mend matters with the person you feel has been disloyal.
Talk Things Through Calmly
A dramatic confrontation with the subject of your anger may only exacerbate any bitterness and resentment you feel. When you feel ready – and only then – try to find a quiet time with that individual and say what’s on your mind. Stay rational and composed if humanly possible. Then give the other person a chance to respond. You may or may not believe every word but, either way, it’ll help you to decide your next course of action. Do all you can to be fair and then at least you can move forward in the knowledge that you tried.
Put Yourself in the Other Person’s Shoes
Now that you have spoken openly about the betrayal, you should be able to gauge the level of loyalty you have for the person who upset you. But if there are any lingering doubts, consider how you might have behaved in a similar situation. Were there mitigating circumstances that forced him or her to act out of character? Were there external forces that coerced your friend or loved one to do something against his or her will? If time is a healer, empathy is just as powerful. If you can find it in your heart to see inadvertent human error – or good intentions with bad results – this will help the repairing process. Just use your judgment wisely.
Pick Out the Positives and Soldier On
Here’s another cliché – but one that largely rings true: Everything happens for a reason. If a lover of two years has cheated on you, isn’t it better you learn his or her true character before entering a marriage built on lies? If a colleague has belittled you to secure a promotion and your employer has fallen for it, isn’t it time that you proactively advanced your career elsewhere? You may not be able to return to where you left off in a relationship hit by betrayal. But you can almost always use it as a springboard to a brighter future where you accept only what’s best for you. Make new friends – and remember to keep counting on the ones that were there for you throughout your troubles. They’ll do everything they can to support the new you. And, sooner or later, you’ll find a forgiveness you never knew existed within you.
If you want to read more about the forgiving process, try these external links: