Forgiveness is good for you. Just let it go. We’ve all heard these phrases, but what do they really mean? Sure, forgiveness sounds nice, but what do you do when you’re just not ready? When you’ve been wronged and the other person doesn’t even feel bad about it? There is an enormous physical burden to being hurt and disappointed. You may not even realize how bad you feel until you decide to forgive. Being a forgiving person not only leads to healthier relationships, but also to lower blood pressure, better heart health, and even a stronger immune system.
According to the Mayo Clinic, forgiveness is “a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge.” So many of us can get caught up in the littleness of a situation. Thoughts like “she doesn’t deserve to be forgiven” or “he needs to apologize first” can keep us stuck. Forgiveness does not mean we’re excusing the other person’s behavior. It just means that we’re ready to move on, and it’s time we did so. Feeling “unforgiving” can lead to a slew of problems. You’ll be more likely to bring that anger and bitterness into other relationships. You could feel so wrapped up in those negative feelings that you’ll find you’re not truly enjoying the present moment. Eventually hanging onto those old resentments can lead to depression and anxiety. You could even lose the positive connections and relationships you have.
When you are harboring negative feelings for a friend, it weighs on you. You may feel more irritable or tired all of the time. Well, it’s not just your brain that is in hyper drive when you’re obsessing about the fight. Your heart has to work overtime, too.
Perhaps offering forgiveness, regardless of the original situation, helps you navigate any new challenge during your lifetime.A state of unforgiveness is like carrying a heavy burden — a burden that victims bring with them when they navigate the physical world, explained by researchers. Forgiveness can lighten this burden.
The moment you decide to forgive your friend, you know you’ll feel relieved. It turns out that if you continue to be a forgiving person, you may end up feeling lighter and less stressed throughout your life. Stress takes a toll on our mental health, but forgiveness could be the antidote.
All right, so maybe you’re feeling open to the idea of forgiveness. When it still feels hard, where can you start? The researchers at Mayo Clinic recommend beginning with a commitment to change. Just opening yourself up to the idea of forgiveness is a good step. Think about what forgiveness could mean for you and your life. Will you feel free, lighter, happier? Then think about how this situation has affected your life. Has your health or sleep suffered? Are you thinking about that old argument all the time? Finally, when you’re ready, make the decision to forgive. You don’t even have to tell the other person. Let it go for yourself.