Life is a roller coaster of amazing highs and disappointing lows, like breakups and goodbyes. When it comes to these kinds of interpersonal conflicts, the best thing you can do is take the high road and make your true feelings known in a respectful way — then let go before you can move forward. We talked with life coach Divine Grace Buszka to understand how to make forgiveness possible, even when you’re still waiting for an apology or it feels like the hardest thing to do in the world.

Why Does Forgiveness Matter So Much?

You might think you can pack up your stuff, cut someone out of your life, and forget about them, but Buszka cautions us that it’s not so easy — and feelings you avoid at first might catch up with you later. “If we ever want to move forward, find peace, and create happiness all throughout our life, we’ll have to learn to forgive and learn to let go and make peace,” she shares. “Forgiveness is a beautiful concept, but it’s not always a cinch to do. In fact, it might just be one of the most challenging lessons we’ll ever have to face: to forgive others that have hurt us.”

She goes on to explain that forgiveness isn’t really about the other person at all; it’s really about you. “When we forgive others, we are not saying that what they did is okay, and we’re not telling them that they were right and we were wrong. Instead, we’re telling the universe that WE are meant for more than to continue hurting and carrying around the anger, the resentment, and all the pain that unforgiveness comes with.” Buszka tells us that forgiveness is actually the key to creating more space for attracting what you’re looking for, which puts you on the path to happiness.

3 Common Misconceptions You Might Believe About Forgiveness

1.Forgiving means you’re saying what the other person did was okay. Buszka tells us that no, this isn’t what forgiveness means at all. “You’re not giving the other person a free pass when you forgive,” she says. “Instead, you’re allowing yourself to shed the hurt and heal in a healthy way that’ll help you keep moving forward.”

2. You’re betraying yourself by forgiving someone who hurt you. “Actually, you only betray yourself when you allow yourself to stay stuck in the anger, resentment, and hurt that comes with holding on.” She says to remember that you deserve happiness — and it starts with you! To honor yourself, Buszka suggests finding and creating joy in your life, starting with releasing anything that takes up space and makes it hard for you to do so.

3.You’re letting them off the hook too easily. Since forgiving is an act of creating freedom for yourself, your actions don’t let anyone off the hook — it was never about them anyway! “Remind yourself that you are doing this to give yourself the freedom from heaviness, hurt, and anger,” Buszka advises.

What to Do When You Struggle With Forgiveness

1. Zoom out. Stop. Take a deep breath and a step back from the situation; look at it as a whole. Can you identify where the hurt is coming from? Be honest with yourself.

2. Learn and understand. “Ask yourself why you’re feeling pain and do the best you can to learn about the emotional block the hurt is associated with,” Buszka suggests. “You can try to see why this is especially difficult for you to let go of.” Can you step into the other person’s shoes? Try to understand the situation without judgment or bias. What fears or insecurities might the other person be projecting?

3.Have compassion. “After doing your best to learn about the other person, have compassion for who they are as another human being here on Earth,” Buszka says. “They’re probably also trying to feel loved and be loved like you are.”

4.Surrender, forgive, and let go. Buszka tells us that there comes a time when you need to be brave in order to make a conscious decision to forgive and let go. “Know that when you do this, you are not only setting the other person free, you are setting yourself free,” she says. “Love yourself enough to give yourself peace.”

5.Send the other person peace and love. When all is said and done, you have an opportunity to learn, heal, and grow from the experience. Remember we are all human, and people make mistakes. “If the other person is unwilling to grow from the experience, that’s not your responsibility, and it’s not your karma,” Buszka explains. “Send the other person peace and love, and then let go, move on.”

Has the power of forgiveness helped you heal? Share your story with us on Twitter @BritandCo.

(Photos via Getty)