It's About You: 5 Ways Forgiving Others Only Benefits Your Happiness
Forgiveness can be tricky, much like the person you might be struggling to forgive. On one hand, you know very well practicing forgiveness is the right thing to do. Deep down, you want to be the bigger person and turn the other cheek.
On the other hand, you yearn for sweet revenge.
Forgiving someone who has wronged you is much easier said than done. After all, why should you forgive someone who so obviously doesn’t deserve to be in your life? Luckily, forgiveness is more about you than it is about the offending party.
Forgiveness is the act of letting go of resentment against someone who has harmed you, regardless if the person deserves forgiveness or not.
Forgiving people doesn't mean you have to kiss and make up with the person who’s wronged you. You don’t even have to speak to him or her ever again.
Instead, forgiveness is something you should do for all the wonderful benefits it brings:
1. Forgiveness helps you let go of toxic anger.
Whether we’re cheated on, lied to or lied about, anger is a natural and normal response. But if left unchecked, anger can fester and become exhausting.
Staying angry requires energy and time. Anger can even take a toll on our bodies, leading to muscle aches and weight gain.
The most disturbing part is by staying angry at someone, you give that person power over your thoughts and emotions. The last thing you want to do is allow someone who has wronged you to have control over the way you feel.
Forgiveness helps you let go of your anger and regain control over your emotions, but it takes effort. You can redirect your angry energy to something more pleasant and productive, like exercise, your job or binge-watching Netflix.
Remember: It’s not about letting the person get away with what he or she has done. It’s about releasing yourself from the harmful effects of ill will. Trust that the person who has wronged you will get everything he or she deserves.
There’s no need for you to stay angry. The universe has got this.
2. Forgiveness helps you see the humor in the situation.
After someone messes with us, we might spend days or weeks rehashing the situation in our heads. We talk it over with our friends and family. We replay every malicious move made against us, constantly shocked at how spiteful and ridiculous people can be.
While talking about how upset we are can be therapeutic, bringing it up at every opportunity is secretly stressing people out.
Deciding to forgive can make it easier to see the humor in the situation. When you really think about it, the whole thing is probably absurd.
People can behave so irrationally, it’s laughable. So laugh it off.
The fact you’ve managed to stand your ground and get yourself out of a messy situation is already reason enough to smile.
3. Forgiveness provides perspective.
Don't front. When someone does us wrong, the resulting drama can be addictive. We might feel oddly hyper and ready for a smack down, totally pumped up on righteous indignation.
In the end, our reaction might be a bit over-the-top. Exaggerating negative feelings can morph our perspective. We might end up making a much bigger deal out of things than we need to.
Forgiveness frees us to pay closer attention to what's happening around us.
While we have every right to feel angry or hurt, one BBC segment can remind us there are always much bigger things going on in the world than our personal sagas.
The truth is, whatever ridiculous nonsense was perpetrated against you will soon be nothing more than a distant memory. In the larger scheme of things, how much does this one offense really matter? You still have your goals to reach and your bills to pay.
Face it: You have much bigger fish to fry. One incident should not, by any means, distract you from what’s truly important. It's not worth it.
4. Forgiveness makes you more compassionate.
When you’re the victim of some next-level bullsh*t, it might be hard to see the situation from any other perspective but your own. You are the one who needs the compassion here, right? That fool who crossed you deserves no mercy.
As understandable as that is, forgiveness is synonymous with pity and compassion. It can help you better understand why you were mistreated.
The real reason someone offended you might have absolutely nothing to do with you. Instead, there might be some deep-seated problems that were unfairly being taken out on you.
Forgiveness will help you be less selfish, and feel sorry for the lost souls who are dumb enough to come at you.
But seriously, everyone is fighting his or her own battles. Acknowledging that can help you come to terms with what was done, and more importantly, help you move on.
5. Learning to forgive now can help you cope with difficult people in the future.
It’s hard to accept there are people who might seem great one minute and awful the next. It’s difficult to come to terms with the fact we’ve been used, manipulated or were just really naïve. The world is not all rainbows and butterflies, and we can't always control what happens to us.
What we can control is how we cope with the less stable people, who are bound to wander into our lives from time to time.
Forgiveness can help us objectively learn from our misfortune. By letting go of all the hyped-up stress, we can focus on benefiting from the experience for future reference. For instance, we might be better prepared to spot someone’s true colors from the get-go next time.
Eventually, you might even be grateful for the experience. A difficult lesson now can save you a lot of grief in the future.
Forgiveness is empowering to the person who chooses to forgive. Don't wait for an apology, or for the person who hurt you to suddenly change or see the light. That’s probably not going to happen. So take matters into your own hands.
Forgiveness is actually the best way to deal with wrongdoing. It’s the only solution guaranteed to benefit you 100 percent, which is exactly what you deserve after everything you’ve been through.