One thing I’ve been hearing recently is the importance of forgiveness throughout your life. Not only is it important to frequently practice forgiveness of others, it’s also important to forgive yourself.
So what is forgiveness anyway? The American Psychological Association defines forgiveness as “the process of concluding resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, difference or mistake, and/or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution.” My favorite words in this, and the most crucial, are “concluding” and “ceasing.” Practicing the act of forgiveness allows you to move on to a new part of your life. It means you’re not dragging someone’s bad actions or words around behind you any longer (including your own). It means you’re free to live your life without anger, hurt and frustration because of what happened in the past. Is it easy to forgive? No, not always. But, as we’ll find out, the benefits of forgiving yourself and others far outweighs the challenge of forgiveness.
Countless individuals live with emotional scars and baggage because of past actions or words. Yet it is very possible to heal from those scars. Countless new research studies are indicating that emotions are the root cause of many physical issues we all deal with. If this is true, it would behoove us to really work on healing our emotional scars and living with good emotional relationships. If we don’t start having healthy emotions and healthy emotional relationships with others, we can look forward to more heart disease, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, obesity, and stress than ever before.
Forgiveness can help us work on the emotional healing. So frequently it is someone from a “past life” that we have scars from; our parents who are long gone, someone in grade school said something about us, or someone we used to know didn’t treat us with respect. Whether you’re still in contact with the individual, or not, it is possible to forgive them and forgive yourself. This involves pardoning the other person, or yourself, for the deeds or actions that were committed. You don’t have to forgive the action, but you do have to forgive the person. The longer you hold onto your resentment for the person, the unhealthier and unhappier you will become. While it’s not necessary to verbally ask for or give forgiveness to another person or yourself, although it is beneficial for repairing relationships, it is essential to release yourself or the other person from the guilt you are holding on to. Holding onto this guilt and resentment will hinder your living a happy and fulfilled life.
There are countless resources available on the internet to get you started on your forgiveness journey. If you’re ready to make a lasting impact on your emotional health, physical well-being and your happiness, schedule a session with someone who can help you work your way through it (I would love to help you too!). Don’t wait until the anger and resentment kills you. Get help now.