Forgiveness: A Gift to Yourself

posted in: Mindfulness | 0

July 7th is Global Forgiveness Day, a day set aside to reconnect and move beyond hurts. And in forgiveness, we let go of the burden of anger for real or perceived wrongs. It’s a gift to yourself, a gift of peace and contentment. When you hold a grudge or resentment, you live in the past and allow the situation to burden your future. You give control to the person that harmed you.

Some studies have shown that people who forgive are happier and healthier than those who withhold forgiveness. Forgiveness can lead to:

  • Healthier relationships
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Stronger immune system
  • Improved heart health
  • Higher self-esteem
  • Decreased depression, anxiety and anger
  • Better self esteem

How do you forgive?

Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you forget what has happened, and you might still hold someone else accountable for the wrong. It doesn’t even mean you have to become friendly with that person again. You’re simply making the decision to move on with your life. You’ll know when it’s time to forgive – when you realize that you’ve been replaying a situation in your head over and over, it’s time to let it go.

In order to forgive, you also need to allow a change to take place in your life. First, it’s important to just acknowledge your feelings without judgment, then find the compassion to make peace with the past. You’ll feel the change in your heart as you let the resentment go and make room for positive feelings.

This can be especially difficult if the person you’re dealing with seems resistant to change or doesn’t even care about your forgiveness. In this situation, remember that you’re searching for peace for yourself. If they are not open to talking with you, sit down and write out your words of forgiveness. You don’t even have to send it to them. This is for you, not them, releasing your burden.

Once you’ve found it in your heart to forgive, it’s time to work on letting go. This step can be so difficult, yet it’s the most important. Letting go simply means that you’re not fighting battles in your mind anymore.

One way to let go is to adopt a mindful attitude, one of present moment awareness. You’ll want to spend as much time as you can to truly experience life in the moment.

Ways to celebrate Global Forgiveness Day

Reach out to an estranged friend or family member – This is the time to let old wounds heal and release any anger around the subject at hand.

Write a letter – If you can’t find this person, you want to direct your forgiveness for a whole group of people, if you’ve never met this person, or even if this person has died, you can still forgive them. They don’t even have to be aware of it. Sit down with paper and pencil and journal about it.

Talk to others about forgiveness – Share your own stories of forgiveness to remind them of how good it feels to forgive. This might just encourage them to practice forgiveness in their lives, helping them lighten their burdens and creating more happiness and health in the process.

Teach children the importance of forgiveness – Set children up for happier, healthier lives right from the beginning, by teaching the important skill of forgiveness.

While forgiveness is an important part of a healthy life, self-forgiveness may be the most important. We are often most hard on ourselves. If you’re not feeling lovable because of actions you’ve taken, you may need to work on self-forgiveness and offer to yourself what you offer to others who have hurt you: a sense of inherent worth, despite your actions.

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