Why forgiveness is so important

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Why forgiveness is so important

Forgiving someone can be one of the hardest things to do. When someone hurts you it’s difficult to let it go, because they have caused you a lot of pain. You can be angry or sad, either way you feel terrible because of them. That’s why you can’t let it go, you feel like they don’t deserve to be forgiven. But, this is a wrong way of thinking: you don’t forgive someone for them but you have to forgive someone for yourself. Feelings like anger can be compared to a piece of fruit: when you have them for too long, they will cause rottenness. That’s not a good thing right? I do feel sometimes like there are rotten fruits inside my head (sounds gross right) and I think some of you do too. But what is forgiveness exactly and how do you get rid of those rotten fruits?

What is forgiveness exactly?

Let me first start with what forgiveness doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean that you approve the things the other person did. It also doesn’t mean you should hide or ignore your angry or sad feelings: than you would not be fair to yourself. Forgiveness also doesn’t mean that you should forget about everything, that’s not even possible for your brain. So what is forgiveness then? Forgiving someone is getting released of your negative feelings. Realize that you can’t change the situation or the past, but you can change the way you deal with those feelings. As I said before, forgiving isn’t about the other person but it is about yourself. You should forgive someone so that you feel free and so that the negative feelings won’t determine your mood or your life anymore, according to forgiveness-coach Willem Glaudemans. When you forgive someone, you’re not a victim of your negative feelings anymore. You are free and ready to go on with your life. By forgiving you make yourself independent instead of the victim!

How do you forgive someone?

As I said, forgiving someone isn’t easy. You should not expect that you will be able to forgive someone right away, it takes time. When you are ready to forgive depends on the person, so please don’t be too hard on yourself. The question is now: when are you ready to forgive someone? You are ready when you’ve realized that the other person isn’t responsible for the negative feelings you experience. The other has been the provocation for those feelings, but you are responsible for them and you decide whether you’re gonna do something with them or not. So: the first step of forgiveness is to acknowledge that the other person isn’t the cause of your pain. Another important insight that will help you to forgive someone, is that you have to realize that some people don’t even realize that they are hurting somebody. They are just people with their own problems and pain, and most of the times there is a legal explanation about why they do the things that they do. These insights can be very liberating. So, in summary: don’t blame the other person who has hurt you for the negative feelings you experience, you are responsible for them and you are the one to change them into positive feelings. Once you have realized this, you are ready to forgive!

Why is forgiveness so important?

Researchers at the University of Michigan have concluded that people who forgive more easily have a better mental and physical health. They think that forgiveness is the opposite of anger or stress and has thereby a positive effect on your health. Anger and stress increase the chance of getting depressed or getting heart problems, so when you forgive someone this chance decreases.

I truly feel better when those negative feelings (the rotten fruits) are finally gone. It wasn’t easy for me to let them go (not at all), but when I did I became more happy and felt released. I highly recommend for you guys to at least try it! It might be hard but I’m sure everybody will be able to succeed. Good luck and remember: you forgive someone not for them, but for your own good!

By Lena van de Lande

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