We have all gotten hurt and the wounds can leave you feeling anger or bitter. So why should we forgive the person that hurt us the most? Forgiveness is to let go of resentment. To let go of revenge. To let go of the bitterness inside you. By forgiving, you can learn to find hope, peace and joy. You learn to let go of the tightness anger has on you and focus on positive parts and things in your life. Letting go and forgiving can make you feel happy and healthier. Forgiving does not mean excusing the act or minimizing the wrong. It means to let go of the anger, sadness and bitterness you have inside for the person. If you stay with the hurtful act and ruminate over it, it can fill you up with hostility and vengeance which can cloud up the positive feelings you have. It can destroy other relationships you may have, become depressed, or prevent you from enjoying the present because you focus too much on the wrong. Think about forgiveness as a way to change your life. It can take away the power the other person has in your life. It can help you to bring peace into your life.
Below are 12 tips written by Judith Belmont, MS (2013) which can help you to better understand why it is important to forgive.
1) If you can’t forgive, it is you that gets stuck in a moment of time. It makes you a prisoner of your past.
2) Forgiveness never means condoning-it means freeing yourself from the bitterness that holds you back from a healthier life.
3) Just because you forgive, it does not mean you stay around for more hurt. It is healthy to set limits and even avoid the transgressor forever, especially if there is abuse involved.
4) Forgiveness frees you from the burden of grudges-which holds you back from a more positive life.
5) Forgiveness helps you to let go of old wounds and helps you reclaim your life.
6) Forgiveness is about you-not the other person. It is about your own thoughts that are holding you back.
7) When you can’t forgive, you are more likely to seek revenge and be vindictive, which brings out the negative and dark side in all of us.
8) Realize that some fences need repair and some fences cannot be fixed. Regardless, you can forgive anyway.
9) Forgive others as well as yourself for not being as healthy as you would have liked. After all, if someone is unhealthy they do not have healthiness to offer others. They can’t give you what they don’t have.
10) Forgiveness opens your heart, which allows you to heal from the hurt.
11) If you think they don’t deserve your forgiveness, realize it is not about them-you deserve it!
12) The work FORGIVE can be broken down to two words-FOR and GIVE. Give yourself the ability to move forward.