Forgiveness: Letting Go of Grudges and Bitterness

By embracing forgiveness, you can also embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy. Consider how forgiveness can lead you down the path of physical and emotional well-being.

When someone you care about hurts you, you can either decide to hold on to anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge, or embrace forgiveness and move forward.

Nearly everyone has been hurt by the actions or words of another. Perhaps your mother criticized your parenting skills, your colleague sabotaged a project or your partner had an affair behind you. These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger, bitterness or even vengeance.

However, if you don’t practice forgiveness, you might be the one who pays most dearly. By embracing forgiveness, you can also embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy. Consider how forgiveness can lead you down the path of physical and emotional well-being.

Generally, forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. The act that hurt or offended you might always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, more positive parts of your life. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you deny the other person’s responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn’t minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.

The Benefits of Forgiveness

  • Healthier relationships
  • Greater psychological well-being
  • Less anxiety, stress and hostility
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduces depression
  • Improves immune system
  • Increases self-esteem

The Drawbacks of not Forgiving:

  • Breeds anger and bitterness into every relationship and new experience
  • Drowns you in your past so you can’t enjoy the present
  • Increases anxiety
  • Stripes you naked of the good feeling of living a life of meaning and purpose.
  • Leads to lose of valuable connections.

How to embrace forgiveness

Forgiveness is a commitment to a process of change. To begin, you might:

  • Consider the value of forgiveness and its importance in your life at a given time.
  • Reflect on the facts of the situation, how you’ve reacted, and how this combination has affected your life, health and well-being.
  • Actively choose to forgive the person who’s offended you, when you’re ready.
  • Move away from your role as victim and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in your life.
  • As you let go of grudges, you’ll no longer define your life by how you’ve been hurt. You might even find compassion and understanding.

So, in the spirit of World Forgiveness Day, let go of it.