10 Benefits of Forgiveness
There are over three hundred million Google searches on “forgiveness.” We’ve all hurt someone and been hurt. Everyone needs forgiveness. According to Mayo Clinic, “Forgiveness means different things to different people. Generally, however, it involves a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge.”
Letting go of resentment and bitterness brings peace and healing, especially in marriage. Ever notice how a sincere “I’m sorry” changes things for the better almost immediately in a healthy relationship?
Holding grudges or resentments creates stress, strengthens anxiety, and can either cause or make depression worse.
According to Kaiser Permanente Hospital: “There’s strong research demonstrating that engaging in forgiveness reduces the cortisol circulating in your body, leading to many benefits, including lower blood pressure, cholesterol and heart attack risk, and better sleep. Forgiveness also helps you to regulate your stress response and reduce your overall level of anxiety and depression.”
Wow. Life’s too precious to withhold forgiveness. Considering its benefits, how long should we wait before giving/receiving forgiveness?
Creating a Pathway to Forgiveness
Resentment is a common emotional reaction to being hurt; it’s normal. We tend to stew in our resentment when a healthier option is to acknowledge when we’re harboring resentment because naming the emotion allows us to step away from the issue, putting space between us and the feeling so we can analyze what happened rationally. It’s a simple process that opens the mind (and heart) to consider the details of the event, paving the way for forgiveness.
What are the Benefits of Forgiving Someone?
There are many positive benefits forgiveness has upon our well-being, including:
1. Improved mental health
2. Happier, healthier relationships
3. Less stress, anxiety, and fewer negative emotions
4. Reduced blood pressure
5. Fewer issues with depression or ease of symptoms in some people
6. Enhanced immune system
7. Better heart health
8. Improved self-esteem
9. Better sense of well-being
10. Feelings of control and empowerment over one’s life
Forgiveness matters and makes a difference in the quality of life. It’s not just something nice we do to keep the peace. Forgiveness is a life-giving force.
Forgiveness Is a Choice…
It’s your choice whether you’ll forgive someone; they might not ask for it or even deserve it. But you can still choose to forgive them for having wronged you. By choosing to forgive, you take charge of the pain instead of it controlling you, which fills you with peace and empowers you to press forward.
Forgiveness takes practice; you’ll probably need to forgive more than once because the hurt will revisit you in waves that come and go. But as you become better at forgiving, you’ll find you can let go easier.
Forgiveness takes spiritual and emotional maturity, but anyone can do it. Even you. Is there someone you need to forgive? Has resentment been eating away at your peace of mind? Then let this be the day you choose to leave the pain behind so you can move on and have the life and relationship(s) you desire and deserve.