When we are hurt by someone in our lives, it can be tempting to hold onto our anger towards them or want to make them pay. We often feel self-righteous in our feelings towards our offender.
But while we are hoping to hurt the other person by hanging onto our bitterness, we are the ones who continue to be hurt.
By holding onto a grudge, we are inviting hostility, resentment, and anger to rule our lives. Hanging onto our resentment allows the offense and the offender to control our lives. Not only is this not a pleasant or healthy way to live our lives, our grudge can rob us of other meaningful and important relationships and experiences.
But if we can find a way to forgive others, we can move on with our lives.
Forgiveness is not about saying that what the other person did is ok; it’s about learning how to let go and pursue peace and healing within ourselves. There may always be a part of you that is hurt by what happened, but it would be a tragedy for your negative feelings about it to control the rest of your life.
Anyone is capable of forgiveness, but this may be more difficult for some. Recognizing the benefits of forgiveness can be helpful in pursuing it.
Forgiveness can lead to better mental health, healthier relationships, stronger immune system, and improved physical health. It is also important to recognize that forgiveness is not about pushing our feelings aside; it is about learning how to manage and release them in a healthy way. Also, forgiveness may not necessarily lead to reconciliation between you and the other person, but that does not mean it does not have value.
If pursuing forgiveness, it may be good to consider seeking the help of a counselor or support group.
“Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.”– Anne Lamott
Written by: Elizabeth Kraich