From a young age, we are taught not to hold grudges and to forgive people for their mistakes as forgiveness is a great virtue and an act of kindness. But after we reach a certain age, we start to question this teaching, that’s because we go through ups and downs of life and somewhere between when we get hurt negative feelings fill us. These then turn into resentment and animosity which makes us hold grudges and seek vengeance. This negativity leaves no space for any other positive emotions like love, kindness, etc. and that’s why it becomes important that one practice forgiveness. But what is forgiveness and why is it so important?
What is FORGIVENESS?
According to psychology, forgiveness is a conscious and intentional decision of letting go of resentment and vengeance towards someone who has harmed us. And as easy it sounds, it is very hard to practice because many of us don’t understand it. That is why it’s important to know what ‘Forgiveness’ is and what it is not.
• Many of us believe that ‘to forgive’ is ‘to forget’, which is untrue, forgiveness doesn’t mean we will forget the past instead it means that we’ll look upon it more compassionately.
• Forgiving someone doesn’t mean we are excusing the person that has hurt us of their mistakes but that we are willing to let go of our feeling of resentment towards them.
• Forgiveness doesn’t mean everything will go back to ‘normal’ again, and we’ll have to act as if the incident never happened. Instead, we should learn from the past and make sure it doesn’t repeat in the future.
• To be able to forgive is to be able to let go of all resent and grudges that filled us up and make space for kindness, self-love, and happiness.
Why is ‘Forgiveness’ necessary?
Forgiveness is not something that we do for someone else’s sake; it is for our own happiness and inner peace. Many times there are also situations where we commit dreadful mistakes that harm us, and during that, we start feeling anger and resent towards our own self. These negative feelings are not only harmful to our emotional health but also our mental well-being.
How to forgive someone who has wronged you or hurt you?
Forgiving someone is not as easy as it seems to be, it requires a strong will to forgive. Sometimes, we are hurting deeply or the person is not feeling regret or was very abusive, at these times it is almost impossible to let go of the anger. There are a few steps we should think of if we want to forgive someone and have the will to do so, like:
• First, recall the incident and think of how it felt, the reaction and acknowledge it.
• Now think, if something similar happens again how will you react then? And is there any growth of your character that you see?
• Now, think of all the pain caused by the negative feelings and is it worth to hold on to them because you think you are punishing that person? Aren’t you unintentionally just hurting yourself?
• Lastly, it is totally up to you whether you want that person to know you have forgiven them or not.
Remember, forgiveness is an end to what hurt you and even though you won’t forget it at least you won’t be bound by it. Forgiveness is a part of positive mental health; it will help you to deal with all your negative feelings and provide inner-peace.