Intentionally or otherwise somebody has done you a wrong, has hurt you and has made you feel bad. Inside you there are conflicting emotions of rage, anger, hurt, sadness, frustration and resentment. It can make you cry; it can make you lash out. It takes quite an effort to overcome emotions and view matters from a different perspective and forgive. For, as Paul Boose said, “forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future”. And there you have it. Forgiveness is the key to maintaining relationships.
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. --- Mahatma Gandhi
It needs a certain level of maturity, understanding of life and a proper perspective on life to see that from a distance, the issue is of not of such magnitude as one thinks it is. If you can downplay the hurt and the wrong done to you and can forgive he who caused it, even intentionally, you come out stronger and the better man. It is a sign of a purer, stronger mind. From a narrow focus, shift it to a wider perspective, look upon your close ones and not so close ones with love and you can then find it easy to accept and forgive. Once you forgive, a new feeling of peace and calm fills you. It is a known fact that harbouring resentment or grievances can have a negative impact on your health, enjoyment of life, impede your energy flow and affect mental thought processes. There are so many other things in life than to keep holding on to a grudge. The process may be momentarily painful but once resolved, a sense of relief fills you.
Forgiveness is unconditional. Forgiveness is a process of healing your inner self and your relationship not only with the person who deserves it but in a larger sense, with society as well. There are no set terms to granting forgiveness or asking it just as love is unconditional. Think of an ocean. It carries within itself so many different objects, some of them actually poisonous, yet it makes no conditions and takes into itself the good with the bad. If one can think that way forgiveness comes easily.
If forgiveness is important to the person who has harmed you, it is even more so to the one who has been wronged or harbours feelings of self-righteousness, resentment or anger. Forgiveness rids a person of these negative and poisonous qualities and puts him in charge of his life. He does not even have to tell the person who has wronged him. The process takes place in the heart.
Always forgive your enemies - nothing annoys them so much-- Oscar Wilde Especially in families, it is easy to say or do something that might offend. Asking for forgiveness the moment one realizes one has done wrong prevents ill-will from impeding the flow of love among family members. There is no shame or guilt to admit one is in the wrong and asking immediate forgiveness only stops the hurt and resentment from growing. Good will, love and balance in a family are restored when both parties “make up”. And by forgiving, one shows how magnanimous one can be.
Although elders and parents might advise to forgive and forget, forgiveness is rarely that simple.
To give you an example, consider case of Mr. Bob Livingstone who rode that emotional roller coaster. His father was physically and emotionally abusive, Livingstone says. One night, when Livingstone was 14, his father tried to hit him, and Livingstone hit back. His father wouldn't talk to him after that. A year later, he died suddenly of a stroke.
“My father was physically abusive, but the most intense hurt was his refusal to talk to me after I hit him," says Livingstone, who did not cry for 25 years after his father's death. “I just didn't know how to start the process of forgiving.
What are the benefits of forgiving someone?
Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for compassion, kindness and peace. Forgiveness can lead to:
- Healthier relationships
- Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
- Less anxiety, stress and hostility
- Lower blood pressure
- Fewer symptoms of depression
- Lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse
Why is it so easy to hold a grudge?
When you're hurt by someone you love and trust, you might become angry, sad or confused. If you dwell on hurtful events or situations, grudges filled with resentment, vengeance and hostility can take root. If you allow negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice.
What happens if I can't forgive someone?
Forgiveness can be challenging, especially if the person who's hurt you doesn't admit wrong or doesn't speak of his or her sorrow. If you find yourself stuck, consider the situation from the other person's point of view. Ask yourself why he or she would behave in such a way.
Perhaps you would have reacted similarly if you faced the same situation. In addition, consider broadening your view of the world. Expect occasional imperfections from the people in your life. You might want to reflect on times you've hurt others and on those who've forgiven you. It can also be helpful to write in a journal, pray or use guided meditation — or talk with a person you've found to be wise and compassionate, such as a spiritual leader, a mental health provider, or an impartial loved one or friend.
What if I'm the one who needs forgiveness?
The first step is to honestly assess and acknowledge the wrongs you've done and how those wrongs have affected others. At the same time, avoid judging yourself too harshly. You're human, and you'll make mistakes. If you're truly sorry for something you've said or done, consider admitting it to those you've harmed. Speak of your sincere sorrow or regret, and specifically ask for forgiveness — without making excuses. Remember, however, you can't force someone to forgive you. Others need to move to forgiveness in their own time. Whatever the outcome, commit to treating others with compassion, empathy and respect.
I just acknowledge that we are humans, so we are allowed to make mistakes. -Haydee Lizbeth Lopez Cruz
Remember that we are all doing the best we can at the time. -Diane Paul
Remind yourself of how much forgiveness would mean to you if it was your turn for a mistake! – Carol Mcbride-Safford
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
Forgiveness comes easy when you know that what people say or do is about them, it’s not about you. -Kim Kings