You don’t forgive, for anyone else, you forgive for yourself.
Forgiveness is releasing and letting go of what you had been holding onto in your head on something someone has done.
Let’s say someone insults you in a moment, he or she will have performed that action in that moment but you will hold onto it and replay that in your head again and again, thereby, creating the same emotions again and again. The other person did what he had to do once, but we end up replaying that event again to ourselves to relive those moments. Such is the mind! Let us be more present to it and not fall for it. Forgiveness is letting go and releasing that from your head. It has nothing to do with the other person actually, it all has to do with you!
At times people believe, forgiveness comes across as permissiveness, which will in a way permit the other to continue in their ways. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you become a pushover. You can be assertive and communicate what you need to. It also doesn’t mean you should go ahead and get people back into your lives. It simply means you are not holding on to what they have done, in your head. You are at peace with whatever happened. It is a sign of strength
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
– Mahatma Gandhi
Why should you forgive?
The primary reason you should forgive someone is for your own well-being. Living around carrying the baggage of being a victim, or wronged will just affect your vitality, your happiness, and fuel malice in your heart. A being with the energy of malice is not a healthy being and that energy will be manifested as diseases on the physical plane too.
There have been numerous studies linked to unforgiveness and physical health: low immunity, cancer, hypertension, and various other diseases. It doesn’t allow you to enjoy this journey of life. When you travel, would you prefer traveling light or traveling with huge baggage?
Of course, you would prefer to travel light. Same way in the journey of life when there is no baggage we are holding onto in our minds, our journey is lighter and more fun. When our hearts are not holding onto anything, love will flow through us to the world. This is a very important aspect of self-healing. When you heal the self, you are in a way contributing to healing the world.
If interested, you find out more details of the impact of forgiveness on health on a paper published in the University of Pennsylvania.
How can you forgive?
Accept whatever happened. Know whatever happened you can’t change that, but how you feel is in your hands and that event or memory can’t determine the quality of the rest of your life.
The more present and attentive we become to the present moment automatically there will be a natural acceptance to whatever is. Acceptance fills you with peace and power, which will make letting go very easy. Where there is acceptance, then one needn’t forgive separately, it is inherent in it. Jesus is an example of that.
Make a conscious decision
When you know the benefits of forgiveness and the ill effects of not being able to forgive, make a choice to forgive. There is a very beautiful quote in the zen tradition.
In the end, the treasure of life is missed by those who hold on and gained by those who let go
– Lao Tzu
Positive Self Talk
The mind can at times go back to that event, again and again, depending upon the depth of hurt you might have felt. But you will have to with positive and elevated self-talk bring the thoughts back to its course.
One very beautiful tool I sometimes use if in case I ever feel this way. I ask myself this question, What if, hypothetically, the person I am not able to forgive has only a few more days to live. Would I still be mad at him or her for whatever happened? Or would I forgive that person and let it go. To me, the answer is always – let it go!. Since death is inevitable and uncertain. Instead of regretting later, of not forgiving them when we had a chance, why not forgive right now and have a better life. Similarly, What if you only had a few days to live, would you want to leave with such a burden?
All of the above holds true even when it comes to forgiving self. Guilt is very harmful to our emotional and physical health. Be gentle with yourself. If we do any mistake, accept and see how we can transform. Forgiving oneself too is an act of self-love. Mercy is to be practiced on self too.
Unforgiveness is toxic. To forgive is to heal.