When feelings of resentment or anger build up towards another individual or a group of individuals, sometimes the best option is to do nothing but forgive.
Now, the common misconception about asking people to forgive is that they assume they’re being told to forget. That is not the case. In fact, it’s better to remember exactly how someone has wronged you, or done you injustice in order to learn from past experiences so not only does the same individual doesn’t harm you again, but others who try to pull the same tricks don’t get away with it. Moreover, it doesn’t matter much whether the other person is deserving of your forgiveness.
Many a time, the other person does not deserve forgiveness but it isn’t necessarily for their benefit, but for your own.
Letting go of grudges only frees you from the past, rather than causing any tangible difference to occur inside of the people who have hurt you so there really is no use to holding onto all of that anger and resentment which means that you’re doing this as a favor to your own psychological wellbeing.
According to Martin Seligman, whose theories of positive psychology and wellbeing have formed the basis and central part for positive psychology,
“Forgiveness is a human strength when it contributes to an individual’s fulfillment, satisfaction and most importantly, happiness.”
People who forgive are generally happier than the ones who are forgiven, and studies have shown a correlation between reduced anger and stress in those who forgave quickly or with more ease than those who did not.
In addition to that, forgiveness isn’t just for other people either, it’s also for you. See, human error is inevitable and there will be times when we make mistakes, when we hurt people, or sabotage ourselves as well as countless other situations that are guilt-inducing and for which we cannot forgive ourselves. We must learn to not just accept the fact that we’ve made mistakes but that it is okay to let go of those mistakes by trying our best to not repeat them and offering ourselves forgiveness.
One of the ways to allow forgiveness to heal you is first acknowledging the problem. Why do you think this person caused you that pain? What is the root cause of this anger and resentment that you’re facing?
After identifying these emotions and events, the next best thing is to allow you to feel.
In order to heal, you must first feel.
Let this emotion flow freely through your system, understand this pain, this sense of being wronged, and don’t stop until you’ve spent every last drop of. You’ll soon realize that by not letting yourself feel you’ve only been keeping those emotions at bay, with a little leak every now and then and continued resentment. When you feel it all, it’s less likely to be as major of an influence it previously was.
It might also aid you in your path to understand why the other person might have done this in the first place. It’s usually people closest to us that we might get at angry the most, so put yourself in their shoes; empathize, and see for yourself why they may have behaved the way they did. I’m not saying that it’s justifiable, but see them through the filtered lens of humanity. They’ve made mistakes too and it may also be that they haven’t apologized or seen the wrong of their ways, but you do not have to engage with them to forgive them. Remember, this forgiveness is meant for you.
Then, when you’ve forgiven them, hold onto it and not let go. It doesn’t help if you’ve forgiven a person and go right back to resenting them or being angry at them; you must be consistent in your forgiveness especially because again, you’re doing it for your own benefit and you have better things to dwell upon. This doesn’t mean that what they did was alright, just that you’ve let go of it.
Water under the bridge.