**Note: This article was written and posted prior to the death of George Floyd and in no way pertains to appropriate justice for that his horrific death. This article was intended to address being wronged in interpersonal relationships only.**
So you’ve been wronged and you want justice. It’s very natural to feel that way, in fact, I think it’s safe to say we all do. Whether it is a friend who has betrayed you, a spouse who has cheated on you, a child who let you down, or a parent who abused you . . . you were hurt. It stings and you just want the hurt to go away.
Stuck Waiting For Justice
When we’ve been hurt by someone, we want to see the other person hurt too. I’ve seen many clients over the years, and I’ve been there myself as well, stuck in their grief, anger, pain, and sorrow and believe the only way for it to go away is to see the person who hurt them pay an appropriate price.
Why Justice Doesn’t Work
The truth of the matter is that even if you were able to see that person suffer in the same way you did, it would not take your hurt away. The offense still happened and you still have to process through all of the pain and anguish of it. Witnessing the offender experience pain will, at best, only give you short term satisfaction. And most likely, depending on how the justice was delivered, you might even feel worse afterwards instead of better.
How To Get Unstuck
The way to get unstuck is to give up the punish your offender. You have to LET GO of the need to defend yourself, cuss them out, get the last word, dress them down, or otherwise see them suffer. When you hold onto the obsession of seeing justice play out, you essentially allow them to continue hurting you. Instead, figure out what you really feel and let the pain wash over you. It is the unprocessed grief over being hurt that is the true problem and it is the ONLY thing you have control over.
This is tough, but it is extremely important. Forgiveness does not have to be spoken to the other party, it is something you do in your heart. You have to be able to look at the person and the situation and realize they did what they did out of their own unhealthiness and pain and not intentionally to hurt you. Once you’re able to let go of the need for justice, you will no longer carry anger, hatred, hurt, or pain in your heart about it. Ultimately, you will be able to wish them well.
When you give up the need to see the person who hurt you held accountable for their actions, you actually free yourself. You no longer have to carry around the dark, negative emotional cloud that goes with it. You may very well have to have better boundaries with them or you might choose to keep the relationship more surface if you are still exposed to that person. Or you might choose to not be around that person anymore due to their unhealthiness and the greater risk of getting hurt. Either way, your heart is free and clear of all of that bitterness and you can walk with your head held up high knowing their justice will come exactly when it is supposed to.