In the past, I couldn’t understand why in the courtroom family members could forgive murderers of their beloved ones. Now, I understand it very well.
When we forgive, it doesn’t mean that we accept that what happened, the bad behavior, was right. Forgiveness is not an excuse. In fact, we acknowledge the status quo of the past. It did happen. We acknowledge that we felt hurt by the actions of others, and we hold them accountable for those actions. When we forgive, it doesn’t mean that we need to be friends with them or keep any mutual contact, but we wish them a good future. And I am not kidding. Only then we can feel that we have truly forgiven.
Emotions don’t control us, we control them. It is in our hands what we want to feel, and we want to feel good, right?
When we forgive, we free ourselves, our minds, from any hostility, grudges, and resentments. You see, when we feel anger, frustration, resentment, hate toward others, and when we blame them, they may not even know about it. When we continue keeping those negative emotions and maybe having thoughts of revenge, we hurt ourselves, not them. And with time, we may also develop stress, anxiety, and depression. I’m pretty sure that most of you know already that we are able to choose our emotions. Emotions don’t control us, we control them. It is in our hands what we want to feel, and we want to feel good, right? When we don’t allow others to push our emotional bottoms, we express our emotional maturity, we feel more empowered and energized, instead of being dragged down. By forgiving we are gaining control back over our lives.
I do believe that forgiving may be extremely hard for some people, especially forgiving those who did not admit doing any wrong, or if we still love them. Let’s however remember that doing hard things makes us stronger.
Forgiving doesn’t mean either that we forget what happened in the past. In fact, each situation, either bad or good, is a great life experience. Therefore, forgiving is not about forgetting.
And it is not only about forgiving others; it is, first of all, forgiving ourselves. So often we blame ourselves that we didn’t do enough to avoid unwanted situations. Let’s take responsibility in our hands and admit if we indeed made mistakes. Let’s reflect on the lessons we learned. By not forgiving ourselves may lead to feelings of guilt, self-blame, self-pity, regret, and even self-hatred. This way we punish ourselves. When we forgive ourselves, we feel more inner love. Forgiveness is an act of kindness toward ourselves.
Furthermore, when we forgive, our negative emotions are gradually being replaced by neutral, and hopefully with the time, by positive emotions. We start feeling not only inner love, as I mentioned above, but also inner peace and hope. We start feeling happy again. As a result, our mental health improves. Oh yes, forgiveness is a medicine against suffering.
Keeping the negative emotions inside influences our state of being – we are stuck in negativity. And so long we are there, we cannot move forward, because our focus is on the problem. When we forgive, our focus shifts. Instead of thinking about the past, the hurtful situation, we pay more attention to the future, and the steps we want to take. We start thinking about how we can use this experience to improve our lives and the lives of other people.
In fact, many of us can be grateful for those tough experiences. They often give us more wisdom and strength. Some of us can even discover a new purpose in life. With some training, we can become experts in those fields, consultants, therapists, or coaches. We can write articles or books for others, either how to avoid certain situations, or how to handle those tough moments in life. We can set up a foundation, give public speakings, organize workshops, and more.
The act of forgiveness in a romantic relationship is a crucial ingredient to have a healthy and sustainable relationship.
To conclude, people who forgive become less angry. They develop feelings of compassion for those who hurt, empathy, and understanding. They feel less hurt, and become more optimistic. They become more resistant to negative experiences – they develop a stronger immune system. Their self-esteem improves and they gain more positive energy. They are more agreeable and confident. They handle challenging situations much easier.
Forgiveness is a choice, strength, and intelligence. When we forgive, our wounds finally start the healing process. And it is very important to understand that forgiveness comes from deep in our hearts. It needs to be sincere. Otherwise, it won’t work.
If you are reading already here, I do believe that by now you understand the benefits of forgiveness. If you know somebody who cannot forgive, please encourage them to read this article m, shares it online, so they can find the strength to forgive, and I can assure them that they will feel better soon.