The Powerful Benefits of Forgiveness
Throughout our lives, we often encounter situations where we feel hurt, betrayed, or wronged by others, whether it's by our friends, partner, a family member, or somebody in line for the ice cream shop. The natural response to these situations is to feel anger, resentment, and want to seek some sort of justice.
However, there is an old saying that says "Don't cut off your nose to spite your face". Acting out of anger and resentment can ultimately harm ourselves because we are the ones who have to live with these feelings and thoughts constantly in our head. Over time, this can lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, and prolonged distress. This is where the transformative power of forgiveness and its benefits come into play.
Even though forgiving people who have hurt us isn't always easy and we may not be too happy with doing it, it can be very beneficial for our mental health and overall well-being at the end of the day. Now, it's important to understand that forgiving others does NOT mean condoning their actions or dismissing the validity of your feelings. Your feelings are valid and you are allowed to be upset when you have been wronged by others.
Forgiveness is a personal choice to let go of the negative emotions that are weighing you down and causing you distress. When you are constantly feeling resentment and wanting to seek some sort of justice or revenge, you are hindering your own happiness and growth in the process. By allowing yourself to forgive, you free yourself from the burden of resentment and open the door to inner peace.
Again, forgiving someone who has hurt you isn’t easy, but it will lead you to a sense of peace and joy. Here are some steps you can take to forgive others:
Process Your Pain
Have you really faced your pain and processed it? Before you can begin your journey of forgiveness, it's important to acknowledge and process your pain. Allow yourself to fully experience and express your emotions. Cry, yell, or release your frustration in a healthy way. By confronting your pain head-on, you can create a space of healing and growth for yourself.
While it's easy to point the fingers and blame others, it's also important to recognize your own role in the situation. You may have also contributed to the situation, even if it was to retaliate in the moment. We're all human and it's natural to make mistakes. Forgive yourself for any wrongdoing, acknowledge your own imperfections, embrace your humanity, and learn from the situation.
Try to Understand
True forgiveness cannot be accomplished without a sense of understanding. Instead of holding onto your resentment, make an effort to understand why someone may have acted in the way that hurt you. Often times, people's actions are shaped by their past experiences, insecurities, and their personal struggles. By trying to understand their motivations, you can release your negative feelings and maybe even show empathy towards them.
Reflect on how the actions of others may have been influenced by their own challenging circumstances. Perhaps critical parent acts the way they act because they were once the victim of criticism themselves, or an overbearing boss is dealing with a personal tragedy at home. Life is complicated and human beings are even more so. Try and understand why someone has hurt you.
And if you’d like to speak to someone and get some guidance and much-needed perspective to help you through this challenging journey of forgiveness, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to support you.