“The first to apologize is the bravest. The first to forgive is the strongest. The first to forget is the happiest.” – Unknown.
Everyone has been hurt by the words or actions of another. You have two choices. You can choose to hold on to angry feelings of bitterness, resentment, and thoughts of vengeance. In other words, you can allow someone else’s actions to dominate your life. Or you can choose to embrace forgiveness and move forward.
However, it is only through forgiveness that you will find peace, freedom, empowerment, and happiness.
Many people feel that forgiveness minimizes or justifies a wrong, but this is not the case. Forgiveness is not about who is to blame or who is at fault. It doesn’t mean that the other person is not responsible for hurting you. Forgiveness is a value, a virtue, and a form of mercy. In other words, you can forgive a person without excusing the act.
Forgiving doesn’t mean you must forget either – despite the quote I used in the beginning of this article. While it’s true, if you can forget about some of the wrongs people have inflicted on you, you’re usually better off and happier for it. However, focusing on forgetting a serious injustice may lead to denying or suppressing feelings which can be detrimental to your mental health. The true meaning of forgiveness implies that you can remember and think of a wrongful act – but without anger or resentment.
Accepting an apology or saying, “I forgive you” or “that’s okay” may be part of the process, but in order to truly forgive, you must let go of deep-seated anger, negative thoughts, and a desire for retribution. This is true, even if you don’t receive an apology. Forgiveness is not a simple formality or exchange of words, but a state of mind.
if you can embrace that state of mind, you’ll most certainly lighten your load. Forgiveness is often connected with spiritual values, but even if you’re not a religious person, you’ll benefit physically, emotionally, and psychologically.
Forgiveness lowers stress and anxiety which can result in lower blood pressure. Studies have even shown that people who are more forgiving in nature tend to live longer. Relationships with loved ones will improve significantly. And last but not least, by letting go of negative feelings, you can focus on positive aspects of your life. Forgiveness can open the way to constructive feelings like understanding, empathy, compassion, and kindness,.
Forgiving others is actually a gift to yourself because you deserve happiness and inner peace.