Human beings can be such fragile creatures. While certain people find it easy to forgive those who have hurt them, for many of us, forgiveness rarely comes as naturally. Other times, we’ve been hurt so deeply that we end up using our wounds as a weapon and a shield. We lash out at the source of our hurt, refusing any olive branches. After all, why should we forgive? Forgiveness is a privilege. Grudges, anger, as well as resentment, are all easier to hang onto.
Despite this, the one who’s almost always most affected by resentment isn’t the source of your anger. Hint: the answer can be found in the mirror. That’s right, you’re the one who’s going to feel most hurt by your own grudges, more than anyone else. Certainly, forgiveness is a gift, rather than a right. But it’s a gift that you, as the benefactor, can benefit from. Read on to find out how.
Benefits Of Forgiving Others
Some of you will probably regard the concept with some amount of scepticism. Nevertheless, research proves that granting others with forgiveness, beginning with a healthy approach towards anger, does indeed have its merits. When you’re constantly burdened by anger, this doesn’t just involve feeling abstract emotions that permeate your consciousness. Your body is affected, too. Anger is a form of stress, after all. Forgiveness, on the other hand, can mitigate the harmful physical effects of chronic anger and hostility, starting with the following:
Reduces Risk of Coronary Heart Disease
Letting go of your anger through forgiveness can ease the strain on your heart, reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. Numerous studies have drawn strong links between a direct relationship between chronic anger and the risk of coronary heart disease. It doesn’t matter if you were otherwise completely physically healthy. This, of course, doesn’t mean that you should never allow yourself to feel angry. Anger can indeed be harmful if it’s of the destructive kind; constructive anger, on the other hand, can lead to recovery and forgiveness. Acknowledge that you’ve been hurt but come up with solutions that can help you move on and forgive.
Promotes Healthy Sleep Patterns And Mental Resilience
Forgiveness also means being able to move past old grudges, helping you deal with lingering feelings of distress that could, quite literally, keep you up at night. And sleep deprivation is definitely not something to be trifled with. Left unchecked, it doesn’t just mean dark circles underneath your eyes or even temporary fatigue. Research has found that sleep deprivation can cause our bodies to continually release stress hormones, too much of which may seriously wreak havoc on your well-being. The worst part is that it can even set off a vicious cycle where stress as a result of sleep deprivation itself can disrupt your attempts to sleep, too. The only way you can break this vicious cycle is by resolving the root of your problem.
Learning To Forgive
There’s no set way involved in the process of forgiveness, especially since the ease with which it comes to us greatly differs from individual to individual. Generally, though, forgiveness involves letting go of lingering feelings of resentment. If you find that you often struggle with this, here are a few pointers for you to start with:
Understand Your Feelings
Acknowledge your emotions. Since we’re the ones who need to forgive, what better way to begin the process than to start from within? It doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you don’t allow your emotions to bottle up and consume you from the inside. Some people find that writing how they feel helps them process their anger. Others need to be able to talk to someone face-to-face. You can even do a bit of both by carefully choosing the right words on paper, or even a text message, addressed to someone you can trust. If you struggle with trusting anyone around you, consider approaching a counsellor, who can help you from an unbiased perspective.
Think Of People Who Have Forgiven You In The Past
You can also learn the act of forgiveness from others, simply by thinking back on the times when others have forgiven you. Surely you must have hurt someone before in the past and have been the subject of forgiveness. This can serve as a humbling reminder to yourself that others are just as flawed as you are, helping you move past the harm that they’ve caused you.
Forgiveness Is For You
Always remember that forgiveness is mainly for you, rather than the one you’re about to forgive. Look at it this way: granting forgiveness is a means of allowing yourself to be at peace, rather than continue to be burdened by hurt and anger. In fact, the same thing can even be applied to any feelings of resentment that you may be feeling for yourself. Forgive yourself first; maybe then, you might just be able to begin to forgive others in future.