The Healing Power of Forgiveness
Forgiving is not the same as pardoning the offense or condemning their actions! This misconception is why many people find forgiveness to seem wrong and impossible.
Though forgiveness is rather an internal motivation to make peace with yourself and move on. It’s not something you must do for others – it is something you must do for yourselves. When you forgive, you essentially let go of the resentment, grievance, shame, guilt, or pain from the past that you have been holding onto, through a positive and analytical process in order to get a sense of peace and happiness in return. As defined by the Oxford dictionary, to forgive is to: stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for (an offense, flaw, or mistake).
When you forgive someone, it’s a sign of your strength, as you faced the pain head-on, forgave, and released it.
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” – Gandhi
You may not even realize how bad you feel until you decide to forgive.
Think About It: You are not the one that committed the crime, so why are you punishing yourself to stay trapped in that jail of bitterness.
Therefore, forgiveness even brings many health benefits. In fact, studies have shown that “being a forgiving person not only leads to healthier relationships, but also to lowered blood pressure, better heart health, and even a stronger immune system”
Now that hopefully, you are feeling more receptive to the idea of forgiveness, the question you may ask yourself is: how?
- Be Willing: If you have been having trouble letting go of something, try focusing on all the positive benefits you will receive once you decide to forgive.
- Take Responsibility: Sometimes our ego helps us hide the part we played in a bad situation. Analyze the situation and take responsibility for your part, once you remove the blame, the feelings of resentment will go away.
- Forgive Yourself: You may not even realize it, but we tend to be harder on ourselves than we are on others. When we make bad decisions that lead to bad actions, we feel imperfect and unlovable and slip into forms of “Self-punishment”, such as overeating, start smoking or consuming alcohol, and self-deprivation. Acknowledge your mistakes but separate them from your qualities, so that you are able to honor yourself as a person. There is no need to be paralyzed by your past.
- Address Your Inner Pain: Situations are not always black and white, before you let go of the situation, look within yourself to figure out the real reason for the hurt. Is it something they said directly, or some inner lying meaning that you yourself implied? Is it just someone’s imperfections like your spouse or child that you are feeling hurt by or someone’s intentional harassing comments? Understanding the hurt and its reason will help you understand how to heal.
- Be Empathetic: Of course, it’s unfair to say that the person hurting you is just but try to examine some of the details in the life of the person who harmed you, sometimes they carry their own baggage of wounds. For example, if someone at work is continuously bullying you, but maybe the reason is that as a young child they never received love and support from their parents. You will begin to empathize with their sufferings and realize that they did not deserve to suffer either, despite what they may have done to hurt you.
- Live in The Present: Many times, when we find it difficult to forgive and forget it’s because we assign a good portion of our energy and attention to lamenting the past. When you start living in the present, you will begin appreciating the world around you and feel lighter. You will automatically begin to let go of the heavy.
Once you have let go of the feelings of resentment and begin to live in the present, you will notice that you stop reliving those hurtful situations and begin to forget the situation.
Do not forget to Bring the Meaning: Leaving behind the hurtful situation will help dissolve the feelings of resentment, but those wounds also shaped you as a person. Perhaps you learned resiliency, bravery, strength, or coping skills. Whatever it may be, try to make the best of the situation.
Thank you for reading this blog!
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