Unlike for grief, there are no established stages of forgiveness, but Howes pointed to key elements that need to be in place for people to move on from resentment. First, the emotions of the event that triggered the resentment have to be fully expressed, whether that's anger, sorrow, frustration.
"Sometimes people will rush into forgiveness, wanting to put things behind them without properly processing what happened," he said. This, he said, is a kind of hollow forgiveness.
Next, it's necessary to create a sense of safety around the wrong. In Batista's case, Howes said, she is returning to her school, but she might change the way she responds to student fights so that she feels protected against the same thing happening again.
For those who ask for forgiveness, it's necessary to accept full responsibility for the actions, intentional or unintentional, that led to the hurt, said Sichel. Full acknowledgement of the consequences of one's actions helps the forgiver believe that the actions are less likely to happen again, thereby aiding in the sense of safety that will help the wronged person let go and move on.