Whether from the abuse of others or from our own behavior, we begin to resent and feel guilty about what we’re doing and what we’ve done.
These highly emotional experiences are easy to recall, and the feelings of shame, bitterness, and regret only loom on our minds and lead to anger and sadness.
It’s in our own best interest to cultivate forgiveness and release the negativity, about ourselves and others, that we’re holding onto.
The ability to forgive offers emotional and physical benefits. Forgiveness is associated with psychological well-being, physical health, and relationship outcomes.
For me, forgiveness has lead to greater personal growth and spiritual development. Holding onto bitterness and resentment prevents us from moving forward and we become stuck in a negative cycle.
What leads to forgiveness?
People are more likely to forgive those whom they feel close to and care for. The expected value of forgiving is also an important factor. Those relationships that have value or potential benefit are more likely to prompt forgiveness.
Lastly, people more readily forgive those who they feel will not cause further harm. People who are viewed as trustworthy and safe are more likely to be forgiven.
Can this apply to how we think about ourselves?
Start caring about and trusting in yourself and see what happens. You might soon be able to extend this faith and love to others who may wrong you.
Meditate and affirm that:
“I forgive myself for whatever I may have done in the past, intentionally or unintentionally, by my actions, my words, and my thoughts that caused me pain. I have suffered enough!” I have learned and grown and I am ready now to open my heart to myself… May I come to know my own wholeness and fullness and help others to do the same. (Levey & Levey, 2006, p. 195).”
Begin cultivating forgiveness in your life,
Forgive yourself – Be willing to forgive yourself for any mistakes you may have made. Blaming yourself will only make things more difficult. If you have caused others pain this may require you ask them to forgive you if you feel they harbor resentment.
Who do you need to ask forgiveness from?
Forgive others – Work toward letting go of resentment and bitterness toward those who have wronged you. This does not mean you have to forget or excuse how you we’re treated, but it means letting go of the emotional baggage connected to this.
Who do you need to forgive today?
Photo credit: andrea.rose
Levey, J., Levey M. (2006). Luminous Mind: Meditation and Mind Fitness. San Fransico: Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.