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Tag: Forgiving (Page 1 of 2)

How Forgiving Reduces Your Stress

Has someone ever wronged you, causing you to hold a grudge for weeks, months, or years? It’s understandable in many circumstances, especially when someone’s done something particularly harmful or life-altering to you.

Thinking about revenge might make you feel a little better in the short term. But ultimately, forgiveness leads to less stress and a greater inner peace for you.

How to Go About Forgiving

Achieving forgiveness can be easier in some circumstances than others. A small slight or insult might be pretty easy to forgive, especially if the transgressor is a good friend or family member.

When someone does something more harmful to you, it can be tough to reach a state of forgiveness.

Here are some things you can do to help get you there:

  • Think about the factors in the other person’s life that might have contributed to them acting, saying, or doing something hurtful to you. Almost always, the person who wronged you has been similarly hurt or otherwise taught the behavior. Alternatively, they could have acted out of jealousy or self-defense.
  • While you are thinking about what might have contributed to the other person’s actions, give some thought to the factors that are contributing to you taking offense or being upset by it. Of course, in some situations, there’s no other way for you to react, but for minor things, factors within yourself might be causing the issue to be more significant in your mind than it needs to be.
  • Try not to dwell on the transgression. When you allow yourself to do so, it can become more significant in your mind and result in even more hurt. That makes it harder to forgive.
  • Give up the notion of being right. There are always more than two sides to every story. Embrace your life’s experience for what it is – a series of events that help you learn and grow. Choose to let go of things that are holding you back from that learning and growing and embrace the peace that comes with doing so.

How to Forgive Yourself

When we are talking about forgiveness, it’s important to acknowledge that sometimes we all need to forgive ourselves for certain things. We can hold grudges against ourselves for a huge variety of issues, like missing opportunities, wronging other people, not saying the right things, or having specific personality characteristics we wish we didn’t have.

It’s as important to forgive yourself for these things as it is to forgive others for their transgressions against you. You can use the same steps listed above to forgive yourself.

A good behavioral therapist can help you both with forgiving others and with forgiving yourself. When you do so, you’ll experience more peace and less stress.

Start with Small Things

If you’re new to the business of forgiving and you have a lot of work to do on that front, start small and work your way up to large events in your life that you’re holding grudges about. Little things are easier to work through, so you’ll be able to achieve forgiveness faster. Not only that, but you’ll also be able to experience the stress-relief of these small forgivenesses, and that will help you continue on to bigger and more significant items on your list.

Try to Project Love

As you move forward in life after you’ve forgiven the things in your past that you’ve been holding onto, try to do so from a position of love and non-judgment. Remember that, the vast majority of the time, the way people act toward you has much more to do with their issues than it has to do with you.

Try not to take offense to things people say and do, but instead, focus on loving those around you and giving them room to make mistakes. Not only will that be a less stressful way for you to live, but it will also be an example for others to follow.

Forgiving and Moving On

The motivation in “moving on” is to look forward, to get on with one’s own life, whether or not that includes the offending person.

So, forgiving and “moving on” are quite different in this: When you forgive, the focus is on the other; when you “move on,” the focus is on the self.

It is not necessarily a selfish act to “move on.” Yet, this act, by itself, is not likely to cleanse the person from a persistent resentment that can last for a very long time. It is in the reaching out to the other in forgiveness, even if reconciliation does not occur, that there is emotional healing for the one who extends the forgiveness.

Forgiving and “moving on” are related in this way: Once a person forgives by offering goodness to those who have not been good to the forgive, this aids the forgiver in now being able to move beyond the situation without rancor, without the disquieting resentment that can be hard to diminish.

As people forgive, they now can remember in new ways. When they think about the unjust treatment, they do not burn with anger or if they do, it is more easily reduced. When they think about the situation, they might feel some sadness rather than rage, some disappointment rather than hatred.

Forgiveness, in other words, actually helps a person “move on.”

On the other hand, if all a person is doing is “moving on,” this will not necessarily aid forgiveness because the injured person has put out of mind what happened, which can include no longer thinking about the other, which renders the motivation to forgive – to reach out to the other – unlikely.

For people to recover from severe unjust treatment, they often need stronger medicine than “moving on.” Communities need to see this and to make an important distinction between these two if people are to recover deeply and well from others’ mistreatment.

Forgiveness is a large part of the hope that underlies recovery in the context of unfair treatment from others.

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