At one point or another we have all been hurt by someone’s actions or by another person’s hurtful words. Unfortunately, we as humans struggle with forgiveness. At times, it can be easy to resent the person who hurt you, hold a grudge against them, or even try to get “even” by seeking revenge.
I’ve struggled with forgiveness before, but I’ve found that anger, resentment, and vengeance do more harm than good, which is why it’s important to embrace forgiveness.
What is forgiveness?
According to the Mayo Clinic, “forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. The act that hurt or offended you might always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, more positive parts of your life. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.”
Ultimately, forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you move on with life.
Why is forgiveness important?
There are many benefits to embracing forgiveness. Studies have shown that individuals who don’t hold grudges and are quick to forgive have…
- Healthier relationships
- Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
- Less anxiety, stress, and hostility
- Lower blood pressure
- Fewer symptoms of depression
- Stronger immune system
- Improved heart health
- Higher self-esteem
When we refuse to forgive those who have hurt us we can become sad, angry, confused, and bitter. Bitterness can overwhelm us and cause us not to enjoy the present. Dwelling on the past won’t heal damaged wounds. Not forgiving those who have hurt us can also cause strain on our relationships and lead to anxiety, stress, and even depression.
Next time someone wrongs you in some way and hurts your feelings, choose forgiveness over anger, bitterness, and resentment. Try to view the situation from their point of view to see if you might have wronged them in some way. If so, ask them for forgiveness and sincerely apologize.
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” -Mahatma Gandhi
Finally, not embracing forgiveness is essentially demanding perfection from others, which is setting unrealistic standards and expectations. We are all human and no one is perfect, not even you. Just remember to be quick to forgive because we all make mistakes.