Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves; allowing us to be free from past resentments and in their place granting peace and healing.
Holding grudges, refusing to let go of resentful feelings and spending too much time thinking about possible ways to “get even” are all choices that add to our stress levels and fuel the painful feelings of anger, hurt and hate. Yet when we’re finally able to choose to forgive, we immediately let go of the heavy burdens of this cycle of toxicity and replace them with feelings of unconditional love and peace. This not only reduces our stress levels, but it helps us sleep better, improves our physical and emotional health and even makes us better looking.
Here Are 7 Enlightening Reasons To Forgive Anyone And Anything That Ever Hurt You:
1. Forgive and Free Yourself!
Everyone knows that when someone says sorry, “the right thing to do” is to forgive them. But the truth is that you don’t have to wait for an apology. You can choose to forgive anytime you feel like it. Because the real gift of forgiveness is the freedom YOU get by doing it. “Forgiveness is for the forgiver.” You don’t have to carry around resentment, anger or hurt anymore. When you forgive you CHOOSE to let go of all that and get on with living your biggest life. Invest your energy and attention in yourself and the people you love instead of into the hurt: choose to forgive.
2. Forgiveness is good for your health, your face and your love life
The body doesn’t care if an experience is real or “just in your head.” When we re-live negative experiences by not forgiving (holding a grudge or trying to get even), the body turns on the stress response and raises the alarm. Remaining in this headspace for too long can actually cause people to feel “numbed-out” to the body’s heightened state of arousal, leading to less awareness of how tight the body, mind and emotions have become. With stress hormones coursing through the body, we have a much harder time sleeping, feeling calm, performing at work (or in bed), digesting food, and losing weight. Facial muscles can also become tight and hard, potentially repelling away the very people who have the type of positive energy that can help us feel positive.
Yet on the other hand when we forgive, our bodies turn off the fight-or-flight alarm, giving us a chance to reset to “healthy factory specs.” We then can begin improving our health and relationships instead of staying stuck or slowly breaking down due to the stress of resentments.
3. Hurt people – hurt people. Compassion makes forgiveness a no-brainer
Everyone has a backstory. I always say “nobody escapes life unscathed.” We all have hurt in our personal history. This also goes for the people who hurt you. It is impossible to outwardly express something that is not already inside. For example; most, if not all, bullies were or are bullied themselves.
So you can ask yourself: “What kind of pain must that person be in to hurt a fellow human like this?” This helps to exercise our compassion which makes forgiving that person much easier.
4. Forgiving does not mean “Let’s do that again”
Many people are scared to forgive because they think it will make them look weak or set them up to be hurt again. But forgiving does NOT mean putting ourselves in harms way again. We can learn to have a mature and well-thought-out plan for what to do if a similar experience happens again, and in the meantime, we are freeing ourselves from carrying the pains of resentment.
If I am clumsy and tend to step on your toes while trying to help you bring in your groceries, you could likely forgive me for that, but it’s probably also a good idea to tell me directly that it really hurts your toes when I step on them, to possibly let me walk ahead of you, (and to maybe invest in steel toed boots). Forgive, but also set up healthy boundaries to protect yourself. Clumsy people need love too – just love them from a safe distance.
5. Forgiveness gets you off the hook
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven… For the same measure you judge others by will be used to judge you.” When considering forgiveness, it’s not so much that other people will use the same standard against us (although this can happen also), but it is really about that our brains don’t want us to be out of line with our own integrity, or to be “hypocrites.” We often tend to unconsciously judge ourselves just as harshly as we judge others. Forgiveness short circuits this trap. When we can give others some slack for their behavior, we also take ourselves off the hook too.
6. Don’t forget to forgive yourself
This is one of the most challenging steps for most people. The truth is that we all do the best we can in any moment, given our own levels of consciousness, energy, awareness and health. Sometimes our best isn’t perfect, and can even unintentionally hurt other people’s feelings from time to time. It’s helpful to remember that life is not so much of a test, but rather a training academy. We are all here to expand, evolve and improve. This can’t happen without making a few “mistakes.”
So it’s important to remember to take responsibility when we mess up, to pay attention so we can learn the lesson, to forgive ourselves and then to move on. We can only improve if we keep practicing. Wallowing in guilt doesn’t help anyone; it only keeps us stuck and actually makes us unavailable to the people we love and that love us back. So don’t do it! Forgive yourself instead, take it as a lesson learned, and then move forward.
7. Punishment, Retribution, and Getting Even are not your responsibility
Don’t be distracted from all the good that’s in your life by thinking that it’s your “cosmic responsibility” to make people pay for their wrongs or their mistakes. You are free to forgive and move on with your life. The Universe tends to take care of teaching the other person “a better path,” and you don’t have to be involved.
If you tend to get stuck in fantasies of pay-back, remember this piece of wisdom: “The BEST revenge is living well.” Forgive and “live big.” Enjoy your life, and do your best to move on and be happy. Focus on your own growth and let the other person worry about theirs. The more you’re able to move on, the more you’re actually healing yourself.
For more information on improving stress levels and communication within relationships, take a look at Dr. Ganz’s new book The ME Factor, as well as Dr. Shawne Duperon’s amazing movement Project Forgive.
You are Loved.