I don’t know about you but I’ve been hearing a lot about forgiveness lately. I find myself quoting cliche phrases like: “Forgiveness is more for you than the other person.” Which I found to be true when I researched this topic.
There is a good amount scientific and medical research that supports forgiveness being beneficial to the person forgiving.
Forgiveness means the act of ceasing to feel resentment against [an offender]; to give up resentment of or claim to retaliation for a wrong, injury, etc.
Just the definition alone hits me.
So when I forgive or am forgiven — I am willingly choosing not to act with any revenge, seek restitution, or “whip up on that” you know, although I am pretty much justified to do so. Mmm-mm-mmm. Powerful. Right?
Which brings to the two-fold point concerning forgiveness. Forgiveness has two sides: 1. Giving It and 2. Seeking It.
Number 1: Giving Forgiveness
We can, when we are ready and willing, forgive an offense without the offender asking or we can forgive when someone asks us for forgiveness.
I’m a little more experienced in the former, without the offender asking. This is something I’ve learned to do especially dealing my father. I cannot remember a time when I’ve ever seen him apologize, let alone to me. I guess he thinks he’s never wronged anyone. *Side-eye
On the flip side, maybe, he doesn’t know how to ask.
Anyway, I had to learn to forgive him because by holding on the resentment and hatred I felt from his actions could and has affected other relationships in my life. It is not right for me to displace my feelings onto someone else.
I do not think I would have a great relationship with my husband had I held on the anger and bitterness I once felt for my father. To be quite honest, it is because of my husband I learned to forgive my father for his past misdealing. I also learned to set boundaries and know that reconciliation is not apart of forgiveness. Reconciliation is separate and should be treated as such. Furthermore, for me, I do not think reconciling is not required once forgiveness has been established. In some cases it is not appropriate, i.e. rape or murder.
No on to the second part of forgiveness: Number 2: Seeking Forgiveness
I am a human being and I am imperfect. I have made tons of mistakes in my life and I’m pretty sure I’ll make tons more before I leave this earth. I know I’m not the only person who has offended or hurt someone. However, I do not go out of my way to do so.
With that said, there is a particular time, and I am glad this person was bold enough to say something to me, a family member told me I hurt their feelings. I was kind of taken a back because I didn’t have a clue I was hurting anyone else due to the fact I was going through my own winter storm. I had just lost my second child and had become somewhat of a hermit.
I was in the wrong because I had stopped communicating and shut this person and a lot of other people close to me out. I apologized and now slowly working toward reconnecting.
Now, not every time will someone come right out and tell you of your offenses. However, if you are paying close enough attention to those around you, you will know when you have hurt someone. Another clue to needing to seek forgiveness is guilt. Feeling guilty is an indicator you need forgiveness.
If you are fortunate enough to have someone come to you with a grievance, just listen, apologize and know you’re not perfect.
If is important to remember forgiveness is an act of your will and it is a process. Forgiveness does not necessarily happen over night, give yourself and the other person time to heal.
Okay, now about those benefits. Here are some of the benefits of forgiving:
People who forgive…
- have more feeling of happiness
- are healthier and less likely to get sick often
- are less stressed and respond more positively during stressful events
- have improved cardiovascular and nervous system function
- become more optimistic, more compassionate and more self-confident over time.
The benefit of being forgiven is insurmountable, the feeling of freedom.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to give forgiveness or to ask for forgiveness because forgiveness is necessary.
P.S. Now I want to hear from you. Tell about a time when you could have, rightfully, held a grudge but chose not to do so; or tell about how you are incorporating forgiveness in your life right now. Leave it in the comments below.
If you like this post, found it helpful or interesting, share it – tweet tweet. 🙂