Forgiveness: a word that is easier “said than done” so to speak. But why is forgiveness so important in our lives and what does it mean for our well being? Chances are you have been hurt by a stranger, someone you love, or you even hurt your self somehow (I am not just talking about physical pain in these examples, I am also talking about emotional hurt, disappointment, etc.)
Like we always say, life is full of challenges and tests, so I am willing to bet that you have faced a scenario in which you were hurt and had to make the decision to forgive or to not forgive. You have probably chosen both over the years, depending on the person and the situation. In my opinion, it is always easier to forgive a stranger than it is someone you love. When a stranger hurts us, we tend not to take it to heart as much as we would if it was someone whom we know and love. Those disappointments tend to hurt the most.
You may say to yourself, ” what he/she did was unforgivable”
” I can never forget this; it was such a betrayal
” Our relationship will never be the same after this”
The list can go on and on. But why should we forgive? Is it a benefit to me or the other person ? Well first of all, try and remember that everyone of us is human. God forgives us for our mistakes and our failures and that is what we should try to do as well. I am sure we have all been in a situation where we regretted something. Remember that feeling you had when someone forgave you? It felt great. Try and pass that act of kindness on to the next person: it will help them but it will also help you heal as well. When you are angry , it harbors resentment and bitterness. A great way to let those negative feelings go is to forgive. Eventually, you will start to see an improvement in your thoughts, your actions, and will feel positive more often. Remember, it was their mistake, not yours. Same goes for self forgiveness; we ALL make mistakes and have regrets. It’s important that we learn from them and move on. Self forgiveness is one of the hardest things to do and learn. When you are angry and upset with yourself (especially for an extended period of time) it can lead to anxiety, depression, and low self esteem.
But how do we learn to forgive so we can begin the healing process? Forgiveness does not mean that you have to forget what happened, or even accept that person back into your life . It simply means you get to let go of the negativity in your life.
- Take a little bit of time and think about the incident,remember that it happened and ACCEPT that it happened. Also acknowledge your feelings during the incident and now in the aftermath.
- Think about the other person involved or think about yourself if you disappointed yourself. Why did it happen? What were the reasons why you think it was done? Try and remember that the majority of people, whether they admit it or not, feel remorse for something that they have done.
- In your journal, write down that you learned from this experience. How did this event help you grow as a person ? What life lessons were the outcome of this event (try and think positive here- nothing negative!)
Also remember that forgiveness does not happen over night, it can take weeks or even months to forgive. Try and tell yourself that the past is the past and you are moving on to a brighter future. How long ago did this happen? Was it recent or a while ago? Regardless of the time frame, try and think about how far you have come from the event and where you are now. I bet you are a lot stronger because of this! Once you learn how to forgive and try and practice it, you will be a happier person in the end!
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” ~Mahatma Gandhi