Perhaps the most sensitive of all the personality types, INFJs take it hard when someone they trust lets them down. They tend to hold on to anger longer than they should and are capable of holding a grudge even when the other person has apologized, repeatedly, for their wrongdoing.
Under these conditions, forgiveness may seem impossible. Even if you want to forgive, you may go back and forth between accepting the reality of the situation and being consumed with thoughts of bitterness and revenge.
So how do you handle the soul-sucking resentment that comes from being hurt by a person you trusted? Here's an INFJ's guide to dealing with forgiveness.
1. Walk Away
If you feel yourself getting mad, walk away immediately. Your intensity is a powerful asset, but it can be very damaging to your relationships if you fall into the anger trap and start yelling at your loved ones.
When you feel yourself getting upset over what happened, do some yoga, watch a movie, go for a run - do whatever it takes to help you regain your composure. It makes sense that disagreements can only be handled effectively if you are calm, rational and objective-not when you are slamming doors or hitting back.
2. Seek First To Understand, Then to Judge
It's easy to have a knee-jerk reaction when someone you trust lets you down, especially when you instinctively believe that you are right and the other person is wrong. But you can't properly judge something you don't yet understand.
If you're like most INFJs, you have a burning desire to get your point across and to act upon your version of the truth. In doing so, you may ignore the other person completely. You'll never know why they behaved the way they did.
To understand what's really going on, you're going to have to listen to what the other person has to say without hearing just their words. Active listening, as its name suggests, means listening with your ears, eyes and heart in order to truly understand the message of the speaker. You're also going to have to consider the blame you share in the situation. Did your words or actions contribute to the problem? Has there been a monumental misunderstanding?
You might have to give your intuition time to work through the new information. But it's only when you know the other person's motivations that you can decide whether you're ready to move forward with forgiveness.
3. Write How You Feel
If you've made the decision to forgive but can't seem to get past what the other person did, harness the power of words. Specifically, write a long, brutally honest letter telling the other person how much they have hurt and angered you, and how hard it is for you to let it go. Don't hold back. Write whatever you are feeling, no matter how savage or shameful those feelings are.
Read it aloud as if the other person were right there in front of you.
Then tear it up and burn it.
As you watch the smoke rise, imagine all those negative feelings floating off into the air. You might feel a little ridiculous doing this, but it really does provide a healthy release for all those lingering feelings of resentment.
4. Be Kind, Not Right
Since INFJs tend to imagine the worst possible outcomes, you may worry that if you forgive the other person, they will do "it" again.
This may be true. The point is, it doesn't matter.
Forgiveness is not about letting the wrongdoer off the hook. It's not about denying reality or validating past wrongs. And it's not about getting the other person to change their actions. In fact, forgiveness is not about the other person at all. It's about you, and how you can let go of resentment and stop nursing old wounds.
In short, it's about being kind to yourself. Forgiveness is intended to draw a line under the hurtful situation, so you can harness all the energy you have squandered on resentment and put it to better use elsewhere. You will still remember what happened, but you will no longer be compelled to relive the experience. You'll stop being the victim of someone else's actions and take back control.