There are important reasons to forgive others who have hurt us or caused us pain, turmoil or stress.
While we may feel justified in holding onto any pain we experienced, the act of forgiveness is a powerful gesture for ourselves.
Why is it difficult to forgive?
Whenever we have an experience that affects our identity in some way, it can have significant long-term effects. It can be difficult to come up with reasons to forgive others because:
- We feel violated or hurt in some way.
- We experienced mental, emotional or physical pain.
- We believe we are no longer the same person as a result of an event.
- We believe something should or shouldn’t have happened.
- An experience or event becomes part of our identity or story.
- It’s easier to hang onto our pain than deal with it and find a solution.
The Costs of Not Forgiving
Even though we may have experienced significant pain, not being able to find reasons to forgive others will continue to affect us. If we choose not to forgive, it can:
- Affect our health and well-being, which can manifest itself as physical pain, illness, anxiety or depression.
- Place additional strain or stress on our relationships.
- Affect our ability to concentrate.
- Impact our ability to make intelligent decisions.
- Lower our self-confidence and optimism for the future.
What does it mean to forgive?
Forgiveness does not imply we condone or agree with something that happened, which may have affected us in a significant way.
To forgive someone is more for our benefit than for anyone else. Forgiveness is a choice.
When we choose to find reasons to forgive others, it means we’re deliberately letting go or any resentment, hurt or anger we’ve been holding onto. It’s about offering some type of kindness towards the person who may have hurt us.
This kindness may involve sending the person love, wishing them well and choosing to release the experience we had.
This does not mean what they did was right or justified. It means we’re now choosing to move on with our lives.
5 Powerful Reasons to Forgive Others
There are some valuable reasons to forgive others. As we fully appreciate these five reasons, we’ll start to reap its benefits and be better off as a result.
- You will start putting the past behind you. We cannot change anything that has happened in the past. Forgiving someone can be the start of the healing process, which will enable us to move on with our lives. As forgiveness is more for ourselves, we’ll be able to move forward and leave the past behind us.
- You will get out of victim mode. Past hurts, disappointments or pain can become part of our identity, if we allow it. The more we relive those experiences, the more we will associate with them. If we’re not careful, we’ll cause ourselves to be in victim mode and find it difficult to get out of it. Forgiveness allows us to reclaim our power.
- You will become emotionally stronger. It takes a lot of courage and mental strength to forgive someone that caused us significant pain. When we practice forgiveness, we’re allowing any negative emotions we’ve been holding onto to release. This can make us feel mentally and emotionally lighter, which can be very freeing. The practice of forgiveness will enable us to grow mentally and emotionally stronger.
- You will be able to mend or strengthen relationships. Any time we experience an event that causes negative emotions, we’re not the only ones affected. Others we interact with or are a part of our lives will be affected as well. By choosing to forgive, we’ll improve our emotional state, which means we’ll be more present when we interact with others.
- You will be more motivated to do something positive. There are many inspirational stories of people who experienced trauma or pain, give back to their communities in some way. A driving force behind it is they don’t want others to experience what they went through. When we forgive, we’ll want to improve how we do things and be a force for positive change.
Whenever something happens to us, one choice is to let it affect us in a negative way. Another choice is to use it to make positive changes in our lives.
How to Forgive Someone
There are different techniques that can be used to go through a forgiveness process. We have to choose what we’re comfortable with or what we think will bring us the greatest benefit.
- Work with a trained professional who can help by sharing specific processes and techniques we can apply.
- Write a letter to the person. This can be a letter we never send or give another person as it’s more an outlet for us to express our thoughts and emotions.
- Imagine the person sitting in a chair in front of you. We then can voice what we want to say to them in order to feel complete and get closure.
Having a conversation with the person involved is often the best way to fully experience the forgiveness process. Sometimes that may not be an option. In such cases, we can apply any of the ideas above to go through the forgiveness process.
Forgiveness is an expression of self-love and self-respect. It’s never about forgetting something that happened or condoning it or justifying it in any way.
It’s about choosing to be free from past pain or hurt, and giving ourselves permission to experience happiness again. It’s always our choice.
Question: What are other reasons to forgive others who may have wronged us?
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