Forgiveness is a gift. A gift you give to yourself. When you hold onto resentment or a grudge, you are shackling yourself to that event in your past. That hurt and resentment is a burden – the offender doesn’t carry it, only you do. Actually, when you hold that grudge, you are giving power to the other person; they still have a hold over you.
Forgiveness sets you free from all that. The freedom to heal, to grow, to live beyond that story. To enjoy the present, and your future.
Forgiveness is as a conscious choice to reconceptualize an event or person so that you no longer live with the pain it has caused you. It is not trying to forget the event entirely. Rather, you reframe the story so that you remember what you learned through the pain, rather than something hurtful that someone did to you. When the narrative is about what you learned from the situation, the person that was part of the story begins to fade to the background of the story.
You don’t necessarily need to actually tell the other person that you forgive them. It is more about your inner work about the event, and your own moving on.
If forgiveness is about freeing yourself, then you can forgive even if the other person has not apologized.