Heartbreak comes in many forms, and from many different people. It is not solely a product of romantic relationships. There is the heartbreak of betrayal, disappointment, abuse of trust, neglect, and various other damaging acts that can be carried out by our significant others, but also our family, friends and even colleagues. Some acts are more heinous than others. Regardless of the perpetrator or the offense, we must forgive all the same.

Be Selfish. Forgive, not because the person deserves it, but because you deserve to be free. It is always more beneficial to you than the other person. So, do it for you. Forgive those who are not even sorry, who may even be repeat and unremorseful offenders. Forgiving someone does not mean that you allow them to remain in your life. In fact, it can mean the exact opposite. Forgive, and then let go of those you’ve determined are detrimental to your well-being. You will feel so much lighter after having cleared out the negative space that these individuals were occupying within your heart and mind.

Be Alone. In moderation, spending time alone is essential to healing and moving forward. When you’ve been deeply hurt, your cup is empty. You don’t have much to pour into others. Take the necessary time to come to terms with events that have transpired, recharge and refill. Allow others to offer support, and never hesitate to reach out for help when it is needed, or encouragement when you feel tired. Just make sure you’re getting enough alone time to focus all of your energy on you.

Be Objective. There are some things for which there is no excuse. Yet, sometimes it helps to understand the situation if you see it from the other person’s point of view. Was there malicious intent? Could this have been a misunderstanding? What could they have been thinking? Are they repeating a cycle of learned behavior? These are questions you should ask yourself, not to shift blame, but to acquire a perception that offers an opportunity for conscious forgiveness.

Be Accountable. Actor Will Smith has taken the Instagram world by storm with his combination of funny and inspirational videos. One that stands out to me is a video he did on Fault vs. Responsibility. The situation in which you find yourself, or the pain that has been inflicted upon you may absolutely be someone else’s fault. Nonetheless, it is ALWAYS your responsibility to fix it internally and find a way to heal. The first step is always forgiveness.

Be Forgiving of Yourself. Perhaps you were wrong in a situation or contributed to its negative outcome. The most important person to forgive is you, so that you aren’t beating up and punishing yourself. This makes it impossible to move on. Acknowledge and accept where you may have been wrong, apologize if necessary, make amends if possible, and then forgive yourself – Just as you have forgiven others.

Often when exploring forgiveness, it sounds great, but what do we do with the hurt? Forgiving someone does not erase memories or completely eradicate pain. What it does is begin the healing process, setting you on a path to where one day those memories won’t be as crippling, and the pain won’t be as sharp. It gives you back your power. Forgiveness does not say “It’s OK,” it says “I’m OK,” or at least you will be.