The Power of Forgiveness

Happy People Forgive More Easily

Forgiveness has a wide range of both psychological and physical health benefits. Studies have shown that happier people are more able to forgive, and that the ability to do so supports their continued happiness. The people who could not forgive had a significantly more negative view of life and carried a lot of anger with them at all times.

The physical well-being of those who could forgive reflected better cardiovascular and overall health. The non-forgiving types suffered from a high rate of a whole host of ailments. There has also been research that forgiveness can be learned. People who have experienced some of the worst pain have been able to work on compassion, optimism, and relieving stress.

Forgiveness improves your relationships, your ability to work through depression, and your openness to all kinds of experiences and emotions.

The Personal Impact of Withholding Forgiveness

When we cannot forgive, we could very well become preoccupied with what happened and what we feel the person who caused it deserves. We spend a lot of time thinking about how it could have gone differently, what we could do to seek retribution, or how we wish the universe would serve our wishes for “payback.” The mental energy used to sustain this keeps so many of the more important aspects of our own lives from moving forward.

Forgiveness brings us back to the present as bitterness falls away. It is this moment, the “now” that matters, and if we live in the present everything in our life improves. Forgiveness is very much a partner of mindfulness. It puts things that have happened into the larger picture and creates an active decision – to forgive – into your hands, instead of feeling like a victim.

Forgiveness Is For You

There is a self-centered, narcissistic aspect to not being able to forgive. When children are hurt, we tend to understand that they often lack the maturity to find forgiveness, since it takes a conscious shifting of our perspective.

Now that we have grown, to continue the anger toward the offender – and to feed it with obsessive thoughts and feelings – is going back to a time in our lives when we were not yet able to understand what is best for us.

Forgiveness is about self-care and love. Forgiving ourselves is an extremely powerful act. We cannot truly forgive anyone until we forgive the things we feel we got wrong or wish we had done differently. There is value in understanding the past, but none in reliving it.


Photo by The Lazy Artist Gallery from Pexels