At some point in our lives, all of us have been wronged by another person and felt hurt, angry or resentful. This is a natural reaction and part of being human. However, if we do not resolve or come to terms with these hurts, they drive our actions and create a negative way of life. By harboring past hurts, we have the potential to do far more harm to ourselves than anyone else can possibly do.
“All illness is caused by not forgiving.”
- Native American belief
Forgiving others or yourself does not mean forgetting or condoning what happened, or giving up the values that were violated or assuming you are at fault; nor is it condemning the other person or seeking justice or compensation. Forgiveness can be viewed as foregoing the resentment or revenge when the wrongdoer’s action deserves it and giving the gifts of mercy, generosity and love when the wrongdoer does not seem to deserve them. To release the shackles of the past, we must be willing to forgive.
Forgiveness is about creating a state “for giving” both to self and others and excusing a mistake or an offense and letting go of the associated hurt, anger or resentment. Because forgiveness has the greatest benefit to the person doing the forgiving, it is one of the greatest gifts that you can give to yourself.
Forgiving allows us to get on with our lives and to open up our minds and hearts to new ways of seeing others, the world and ourselves. It releases energy that can be used for other, more productive thoughts and actions.