What does forgiveness mean to you? Is it a word with religious overtones? Does it mean that you let someone who wronged you off the hook?
People view forgiveness in many different ways, but at the heart of forgiveness is letting go of past emotional injuries in order to give yourself the gift of emotional peace. It does not guarantee justice for the other person’s actions, nor does it require reconciliation between parties. It simply allows the person carrying the burden of the negative emotions to lay those concerns down, and set him/herself free from that pressure.
Why forgive? Here are two excellent reasons:
- It’s good for your health
It is well documented that chronic and persistent stress is bad for your health. Stress can play a role in high blood pressure, heart disease, and even obesity. In addition to these physical ailments, stress can adversely affect your mental health and emotional well-being, including anxiety and depression.
When you hold onto grudges or past grievances, you take on an emotional stress which is carried with you forever. This only changes if you forgive or if time softens your feelings about what happened. When you learn to forgive, you can save yourself from carrying around unnecessary stress and all of the negative effects that come along with it. Remember that when you foster anger and resentment, you only punish yourself!
- It’s good for your relationships
People who practice and learn to forgive are able to communicate better, resolve conflicts faster, and repair damaged relationships more effectively. In turn, this can lead to greater happiness, less stress, and more social connectedness. When you practice forgiveness, you also cultivate greater empathy and compassion for others.
Remember that forgiveness is about setting yourself free from an emotional burden. It is not about sweeping bad behavior under the rug or reconciling with someone who regularly hurts you. You may work to forgive an abuser for your own emotional benefit, yet never invite that person back into your life, or condone their actions.
Have you been able to forgive some people/situations but not others? Is this an issue that you would like help with today? Contact NewPoint of View Counseling today to get started on the path of hope and healing! As a professional therapist, I look forward to helping you learn to forgive and to live your most authentic life, filled with love, trust, and relationship satisfaction.