We occasionally come face to face with people whom for one reason or another we have not forgiven some trespass of theirs in the past or even worse yet we are the party guilty of something unforgivable. Whether they are family or friends we seldom or no longer speak to it is always an uncomfortable meeting.
Forgiveness Can Restore Your Life
Once you realize that forgiveness doesn’t excuse or condone a transgression. It may be easier to enjoy the benefits of the true meaning of forgiveness.
Whether justice is served with apologies, reparation or other positive actions, forgiveness can lift the burden of anger and resentment and give you back your thoughts.
When you practice forgiveness, you gift yourself with a much deserved freedom, to get on with your life and give the person who wronged you the least amount of thought and time possible.
When you forgive, you’re releasing the burden of what happened from your shoulders. Making the decision to rid your mind of thoughts of revenge and anger. Choosing instead the happy and peaceful memories that lie in the future.
Forgiveness – Getting There
You may want to be able to forgive – to release the anger that’s dominating your thoughts and making your stomach churn – but you don’t know how. Or, perhaps the wrong perpetrated against you was so heinous that forgiveness seems out of the question.
You may be afraid that if you forgive, you’re “giving in.” You need not forget the memory of the transgression nor let the person who perpetrated it back into your life. You’re never obligated to condone the action or display kindness toward the person. That’s not what true forgiveness is.
The best way you can begin to forgive is to practice controlling your thought process. When negative thoughts of revenge and anger first appear, practice booting them out immediately and replace them with positive thoughts – of doing something for yourself.
Others are not always at fault. So don’t continue to beat yourself up if you have acted in a way that has harmed YOU in the past. Let go of what you can’t change. Choose forgiveness for yourself
Spend your energy in positive ways rather than dwelling on past, hurtful instances. Keep in mind that you’re not making the transgression “okay” if you choose not to think about it. You’re trading the harm that the thoughts are causing in your energy and life for a more abundant and happier life.
Forgiveness Shows Character
If you can forgive, you’re way ahead in strength of character. It takes courage and commitment to forgive and not seek revenge for every wrong done against you. Forgiveness is a virtue that deals with temperance – and temperance is the action we take against excess in everything – anger, food, envy and other emotional triggers.
When you forgive, you’re making a conscious effort to live a happier, more active and authentic life that strengthens your character even more because you’ve worked through a major problem to success.
With forgiveness, you must acknowledge the pain perpetrated against you. After you forgive, you’ll soon be aware that you have no more thoughts of revenge and you may not even feel anger for the person who hurt you.
Letting go of negative thoughts certainly doesn’t take away the pain and hurt, but it helps you move it into a category of the “past” so you can get on with your future. The ability to move past the hurts and into the realm of forgiveness is a huge character builder because all the steps you have to take discard the negative portions of your character while replacing them with positive ones.
Get Your Power Back with Forgiveness
When something has happened to shake your trust or belief in another person (especially someone you love), you may feel anger and resentment for a long time. You can reduce the power that the other person has over your feelings and actions by forgiving and letting go of the destructive emotions and the hurt of past transgressions.
These self-destructive emotions and thoughts can cost you dearly in terms of power for yourself. Forgiveness is a tried and true way for victims to reclaim their power and gain power over the person who wronged them. If you don’t choose to forgive, the transgressor retains the power over you.
You may always remember the hurt or tragedy you suffered through the act of another person, but that doesn’t mean that it has to stalk you forever. When you forgive, you get a type of peace and calm without condoning the act or excusing the person who transgressed against you.
Keep in mind that there’s no timeline for forgiveness. It should happen when and only when you’re ready and not when others say you should move on or it would be better for you if you moved on.
How Forgiveness is its Own Revenge
The only way to move beyond what you’ve been through is with authentic forgiveness.
Some stages involved in the process are:
1. Don’t think you can change the past. Wanting a different outcome won’t make it happen. You’re left with the reality of what happened and although you can’t change it, you can let go of that hope and get on with the future.
2. Make a decision that you won’t seek revenge on the other person. When you forgive, you make a conscious decision not to seek justice by yourself. Rather, living your life the best you can will be the best revenge.
3. Move beyond the bitterness. That happens when you actively choose to replace the vindictive and negative thoughts with positive ones. How can you change your life for the better and open yourself up to new relationships? When you figure it out, forgiveness is possible.
4. Mentally end resentment and anger and need for revenge. Your thoughts control your actions and to some degree, your body. Only positive thoughts and a decision to end the negative can get you out of the prison of thoughts of revenge.
Mental, Physical and Spiritual Benefits of Forgiveness
The power of forgiveness has long been touted by religions of the world as a way to reach a higher level of spirituality. During recent decades, the power of forgiveness is also discussed among medical and psychological professionals as a method to let go of anger and resentment and prevent health problems.
The mental benefits of forgiveness may include:
· Ridding your mind of depression and lifting the anxiety you may feel from anger and resentment.
· Clarity and focus. You’re better able to cope with reality and the matters at hand when you choose forgiveness over negative thoughts.
· Protects against long-term stress. Poor mental health is often associated with stress and nothing causes stress like anger and resentment.
The physical benefits of forgiveness may include:
1. Lower blood pressure. Stress and anxiety may cause your blood pressure to soar. Forgiveness is letting go and can calm your nerves and mind.
2. Enjoy a longer and healthier life span. Unconditional forgiveness (not expecting an apology or reparations) is known to help people live longer and fuller lives.
3. Healthier immune system. If your immune system isn’t healthy, it has a much more difficult time fighting off diseases – both mental and physical.
Spiritual benefits of forgiveness may include:
1. Acceptance of others with compassion and understanding. Rather than concentrating on revenge, forgiveness can lead to spirituality.
2. Opens your heart and mind to others. Relationships can be improved with forgiveness.
3. Calm and peacefulness in your life. If you’ve ever experienced full-blown anger, you know how debilitating it can be. It interferes with sleep, physical functions and turns your spirit to hurt and dismay.
The Difference Between Reconciliation and Forgiveness
The act of forgiveness doesn’t always lead to reconciliation and vice versa. One isn’t necessarily dependent on the other. You can forgive without having any thoughts about restoring a relationship, and you can reconcile and “agree to disagree” without forgiving the other person.
You may think that in certain cases (such as with a spouse) you can’t possibly forgive without letting the person back in your life. For example, if your best friend has an affair with your husband, you may let both relationships fall to the wayside.
On the other hand, you can forgive the people involved so that you can get on with your own life. The harm done to your relationship may negate any possibility of reconciliation.
Forgiveness doesn’t require you to interact with the other person involved. Reconciliation does require your involvement and means that you actively engage with the offender.
The process of reconciliation means that you exchange a dialogue with the offender, express how you’ve been hurt and try to reestablish trust by moving past the hurt and anger and establish forgiveness.
One way to think about the difference between reconciliation and forgiveness is that reconciliation is accomplished by an outward process and forgiveness is given from inside with discipline and through a continuous process.
With forgiveness, apologies aren’t necessary, but they do help. Don’t expect participation from the offender when you choose to forgive. Give it freely and with love and acceptance in your heart.
Why it’s Difficult to Forgive
When someone we love and trusted has treated us with disdain the last thing on our minds is forgiveness. Our dreams have been shattered and we usually become angry. Forgiveness isn’t on the horizon.
If you’re infused with anger and resentment toward another person, your thoughts are likely full of negativity and blame. You may also have guilt for how you might have contributed to the situation or think that forgiving is only for the weak.
Being judgmental is also a reason why it’s so hard to forgive another. If you perceive the other person as not appreciating you or all you’ve done for them or the love and trust you’ve put in the relationship, it becomes even more difficult.
You can make the choice to forgive and still not reconcile or accept what they’ve done. But, when your harshness of judging begins to permeate your own life and make you bitter and resentful, forgiveness is that gift you give yourself so you can pick up the pieces and go on in a healthy manner.
Think of a time when you needed forgiveness for something you thoughtlessly did that hurt another person. How did you feel about how the other person reacted to the transgression? What would have made you understand the action you perpetrated better and help you see how hurtful it was?
Chances are, you reacted to the anger of the other person by making up excuses that it wasn’t really your fault. But, if that same person forgave you in a calm manner, it’s more likely you were better able to see the error of your ways and offer a sincere apology to that person.
For more on Forgiveness please check out this post from Mindvalley.
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