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.