Practicing forgiveness is something that many of us struggle with. The act goes beyond just the utterance of the words “I forgive you”. There are many definitions which have been given to try and explain forgiveness and many people have various perspectives when it comes down to what forgiving is all about. In general, we could say the forgiving is the act of wiping the slate clean and giving pardon for a wrong done without revenging for the damage that is caused. For anyone to embark on a journey of forgiveness, it is important to understand what forgiveness is all about.
There are many misconceptions regarding what forgiveness is that makes people opt out of the whole process. Here are some facts about what forgiveness is and isn’t:
- It has a limit: Forgiveness is not allowing the offense to be done over and over again. You should not have to tolerate being hurt constantly under the name of forgiveness.
- Forgiveness does not mean reconciling. It is possible to forgive someone but live your life without having any association with them.
- Forgiveness is a process. It does not happen in a single event. Dealing with emotions takes time before we can genuinely forgive.
- Forgiveness does not mean you should be a victim. Just because someone hurt you once and you forgave them doesn’t mean you should allow them to walk all over you.
- Forgiveness is not based on an apology. Regardless of whether a person admits their wrongs and apologizes or not, we still have to forgive them.
- Forgiveness does not need announcements. You do not always have to let the offender know that you have forgiven them.
- Forgiveness is a mental decision. You decide to forgive before the emotional healing can take place.
Importance of Forgiveness
In almost all cases, forgiving benefits you more than it does the person who has offended you. Below are the reasons why:
- A strong heart. The heart is affected by our emotions. A person who has forgiven wrongdoings has stable emotions thus improved heart health.
- Healthier relationships. It is easier to relate to people once you have forgiven them and let go of any resentment.
- Improved self-esteem. Forgiveness gives you a clear mind and enables you to take proper care of yourself. This boosts the self-esteem.
- Fewer chances of depression. An unforgiving character builds up bitter and negative feelings which might cause depression. With forgiveness, all this goes away.
- Happier life. Forgiveness allows you to live your life happily without any negative feelings.
- Less stress, hostility, and anxiety. Bitterness causes anger and hostility. This is why we should forgive.
- Improved mental health. With less stress and anger after forgiving, our mental wellness is improved.
We have all been hurt at some point, and the cycle will always continue. It is, therefore, necessary to cultivate a forgiving heart. It is not only good for our health, but also for our spiritual well-being. Forgiveness comes from within, and it must be genuine. It is an act of not only love but also mercy.