All female friendships, even very close ones, hold the potential
for disappointment and hurt. It is common for unexpected and unfortunate
lapses to occur (as opposed to consistent patterns of toxic behaviors—which also occur!).
A friend may have been insensitive to your feelings, forgotten
your special birthday, failed to be there when you needed her, or put you at a
distance without an explanation.
Both girls and women tend to have such high expectations of their
female friends—believing that those friendships will last forever—so even
relatively minor snubs or transgressions can make them feel like they’ve been
punched in the stomach.
Eventually the pain subsides but it still is hard to forgive
or forget. If you are like me, you’ll obsess about what happened, replaying the
hurt without getting over it. Yet, it is in our best self-interest to practice forgiveness.
A recent issue of the Mayo Clinic Women’s Healthsource, focused
on the topic of “Finding Forgiveness.” The newsletter suggested that it is
healthier, both physically and emotionally, to forgive rather than to harbor grudges. Remaining
angry can wreak havoc on your heart and nervous system, leaving you feeling
anxious, tense, and depressed.
Forgiving usually doesn’t occur spontaneously. To pave the
way, you need to be honest with yourself.
- Replay the event in your mind and admit you feel hurt.
- Consciously decide that you want to forgive—you might even
write it down or say it aloud.
- Try to understand what happened from her perspective. Instead
of thinking that the infraction was purposeful, reframe it as having to do with
her rather than you.
Practiced well, forgiveness improves physical health, provides
a sense of emotional relief and closure, and has the social effect of teaching
us to be more compassionate and empathetic with others. If the transgression
was a serious one, your friendship may not survive but forgiving will allow you
to move forward feeling more whole.