10 ways to work on forgiveness
How do you forgive someone when you can't have a conversation with them
1. The Nine Step Process
2. Write it Down
3. Make a list of everything that person did for you
4. Make a list of everything you did for them
5. What were the costs of your resentment?
6. How would your life be different if you forgave?
7. What does forgiveness look like to you? Describe it in detail.
For instance, when I forgave my father for all the pain he caused me I felt relief and saw him as a sick man who was trying to figure out how to live his life but didn't know how because he grew up during the Great Depression and was abused by his parents. He tried so hard but couldn't do it. When I forgave him I saw him as a child and had compassion rather than anger toward him.
Conversely, when someone asked me to forgive them recently, they were very angry at me and said horrible things about me (but not directly to me). It was very difficult to forgive in that situation because they were still angry and unwilling to even try to make amends or understand what they did wrong (and they knew exactly what they did wrong). These are all things one should write down when describing what forgiveness looks like.
Also, describe how forgiveness will help you on your path toward... what is important for you right now? For instance, if someone stole from you 10 years ago is it important for you now? Or if someone said something hurtful 20 years ago is it important now? If not then perhaps it's time to let go of those feelings and move forward with your life. It's hard but important work. And this exercise helps with that process.