Letting Go and Moving Forward

Some lexicons define forgiveness as-

  • compassionate feelings that support a willingness to forgive
  • the act of excusing a mistake or offense

The Mayo Clinic defines forgiveness as-

  • a decision to let go of resentments and thoughts of revenge
  • the act of untying yourself from thoughts and feelings that bind you to the offense committed against you

Basically, forgiveness means pardoning or excusing a wrong, a mistake or an offense that was done to you. Forgiveness relieves of the burden of carrying a grudge against those who have wronged you. Unburdened, you are free to live your life towards a path of emotional, spiritual and physical well-being.

Physical benefits of forgiveness

Holding on to grudges breeds bitterness. Bitterness results in possible serious health problems. If you are starting to view this as a sermon, it might interest you to know that researchers recently looked into the effects of being unforgiving and being forgiving – and the evidence supporting the ‘theory’ that holding grudges can lead to long-term health problems is piling up.

On the other hand, being forgiving offers several health benefits such as:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Stress reduction
  • Decreases hostility
  • Better control of anger (anger management)
  • Lower heart rate
  • Decreased risks of substance abuse (including alcohol)
  • Less depression and anxiety symptoms
  • Chronic pain reduction
  • More friends/friendships
  • Better, healthier relationships
  • Greater religious or spiritual well-being
  • Better psychological well-being

How do I reach a state of forgiveness?

Reaching the state of forgiveness is different for everyone. The mayo clinic suggests recognizing the importance of forgiveness and its significance in our lives at a given time. You may also contemplate on the facts of the situation, how we responded, and how has this two affected our lives, our health and well-being.

As we prepare ourselves, we actively decide or choose to forgive the person who has wronged us.

From here we will see the control and/or power shift from the offending person to us (as the victim). By forgiving the person, we take the control and/or power that he or she (and the situation) have had in our lives.

What if I can’t forgive someone?

Give yourself time. Maybe the wound is still fresh. You will eventually reach a state of forgiveness, and that can take years.

However, if you had been harboring a grudge or bitterness for years, you might want to talk with somebody who is wise and compassionate, such as a kind elderly family member or friend, a mental health provider or a spiritual leader.

It can be difficult to forgive someone who refuses to admit his or her mistakes. Still, you should consider the benefits forgiveness (and the detriments of not forgiving). Looking back at past mistakes and the people who have forgiven you may help put thing in perspective.

Does forgiveness guarantee reconciliation?

The answer is no. Think of cases where in a person is abused, attacked or a loved one of his/hers was killed – the person may learn to forgive his/her abuser or the killer of his/her loved one, but reconciliation may not be appropriate – or possible.

How do I know if I’ve truly forgiven someone?

You will feel it. When the offense no longer rules your thoughts, when you actually do not feel any kind of resentment or bitterness, when you feel at peace with the world, that’s when you know you’ve truly forgiven someone.

Source: The Mayo Clinic