Forgiving is inherently selfish. Likely, you’ve been taught otherwise. Mistakenly, humans think they have power over one another. When we withhold forgiveness and rest in resentment, we think that our anger is somehow punishing another person. On the contrary, anger punishes us instead. By the same token, forgiveness is not something done for someone else, but ourselves. Our forgiveness cannot change someone, however, forgiveness can be life-changing.
Saying, “I forgive you” is not the same as saying “I condone your harmful behaviors toward me”. Forgiveness is not about forgetting or letting go of our injustices. Instead, forgiveness is about freeing yourself from the weight of holding onto a resentment.
- Forgiveness is a shortcut to reality
- Without forgiveness, we live in the past of an event’s occurrence, which robs us of the present moment
- Forgiving is empowering
- We think when we don’t forgive, we hold all the power. Considering it is likely someone else’s actions that caused us harm initially, we are actually giving them all the power. Forgiving may seem like a breach in security. You’ve built a necessary boundary. If they were capable of hurting you in this way once, who is to say they could not do it again? Unfortunately, by not forgiving that harm done, the harm is continually done. That boundary is only effective when it is being put to active use.
- Forgiveness is good for your health
- Mental and spiritual health aside, forgiveness is good for you. Emotions take a physical toll. Critical bodily functions are impacted by the way we digest emotional stress. Our immune systems, for example, are significantly weakened by stored emotion. Negative emotions like resentments are toxic. The body greatly dislikes toxins. When we do flushes or cleanses, we aim to rid ourselves of stored up toxins. Forgiveness is a release of emotion, like emotional toxins. Forgiving is therefore like an emotional cleanse.
- Forgiveness is seeing clearly
- Resentments are like blinders. They prevent us from remembering the good times. Before we were angry at people, we were happy with them.