WHAT IS FORGIVENESS?
Forgiveness is letting go of negative feelings you are harbouring towards someone who has hurt you. Sometimes the bad feelings are replaced with neutral feelings, and sometimes with positive feelings. When you forgive someone, you don’t necessarily have to go back to the way things were before you were hurt by the person. In fact, forgiving someone is more for you than it is for them. When we hold resentments, it can be detrimental to our health and well-being. We may have higher stress and anxiety levels, as well as increased levels of depression. There have even been studies showing that harbouring resentments can be very detrimental to our physical health. Anger and resentment can increase the risk of heart attack, cholesterol levels, sleep disorders, and can lead to high blood pressure. When we forgive someone we are trying to make an effort to improve our mental AND physical well-being, as well as moving past hurt feelings. Even though forgiveness can be healthy, there are times where it is not necessarily encouraged or advised, such as in cases of sexual abuse. You do not have to forgive everyone or everything, in fact not forgiving someone for something like that might make you feel stronger, so it really can depend on the case and it’s important to keep that in mind. We will be discussing the concept of forgiveness in this blog post, for those that are interested in learning more about it.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU?
When we forgive someone, we have to ask ourselves what it actually means when it is all said and done. Forgiving someone has a lot to do with how hurtful or damaging the case was, as discussed above. As such, it can be difficult to understand what it means in terms of your relationship with the person going forward, as well as understanding how to personally move past the hurt feelings. Sometimes having a relationship with the person is too difficult afterwards, other times you can get to a place where you can be comfortable with being around them but nothing more. Paying attention to how you feel about the overall situation after the forgiveness is important, as well as to how the person reacts or behaves towards you. If they can accept your forgiveness and you can both move past it, then it is a positive situation. If you forgive them but they still have not changed, then it is best for you to move on and not have the same (if any) relationship with them. Being introspective and true to your beliefs and feelings will help guide you through what forgiveness means to you.
HOW CAN YOU LEARN TO BE MORE FORGIVING?
Some people are naturally more forgiving than others, but you can definitely learn to be more forgiving if that is what you truly want. If you don’t want to harbour negative feelings and resentments anymore, and you want to improve your stress and anxiety levels, you may want to teach and challenge yourself to be more forgiving. You can teach yourself this by choosing compassion and empathy over resentment towards the person who has hurt or wronged you. You can also develop a more forgiving attitude. This is achieved not necessarily by forgetting what has happened, but by attempting to reflect more objectively about what happened, how you felt, and how this has affected you since. Letting go of expectations is another big step towards being more forgiving. If you don’t expect an apology, you won’t be disappointed if you don’t get one.
WHAT ABOUT THE ROLE OF FORGIVENESS OF SELF?
Acknowledging your mistakes and forgiving yourself is another important part of positively progressing from a negative situation. When you forgive yourself, you are being kind and compassionate to yourself and allowing movement into positivity and higher self-esteem. Forgiving yourself can be difficult, but you can start by acknowledging your faults and taking responsibility for any pain you have caused. You can then analyze what was in your control and what was out of your control and, upon identifying those pieces, make an effort to avoid making those mistakes again in the future.
If you ever need help figuring out how to develop a more positive and constructive way to maintain healthy relationships, please do not hesitate to reach out to us here at Strength Counselling. We are here to help you with our e-counselling services, from the privacy of your own home! Please contact us for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org