At some point in your life, someone has done or said something that has physically or emotionally hurt you. Whether it is a spat with your best friend, sabotage by a coworker, or something more serious such as being abused by an ex, we all carry some unresolved conflicts with us.
When we’re hurt or angry with someone and feel like we’re unable to forgive them, we carry that burden. Sometimes we might even want to seek vengeance. But carrying those burdens around with us negatively impacts our physical and mental health. For example, if you feel angry every time you hear someone’s name because you’re upset over something they said, your blood pressure increases, which increases your risk of heart complications.
At some point, you need to consider letting go of those burdens by embracing forgiveness.
Meaning of forgiveness
Forgiveness means different things to people, but what is important to keep in mind is that forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to reconcile a relationship. If someone has caused you physical or emotional harm in the past, you don’t have to forget what they’ve done or allowed them to come back into your life.
Instead, forgiveness is about consciously deciding to release those feelings of anger or resentment you have towards that person. It takes time, but it’s all about developing some sort of peace within yourself. As you let go of those feelings, you may start to develop empathy or compassion towards the person who hurt you.
Effects of holding a grudge
Whenever you hold onto those feelings of anger or resentment towards someone, your mental and physical health is impacted. If you let yourself dwell on these negative emotions, you may find yourself growing anxious and depressed. Too much emotional stress can begin to weaken your immune system and cause high blood pressure.
Grudges can also impact your relationships with other people. You may not be able to form connections with new people because you’re caught up with thinking about your past. You might come off as being bitter or insecure, which can drive others away. Being caught up in the past means that you’re not enjoying the present.
Benefits of forgiveness
Reaching a state of forgiveness reduces your stress levels, which can improve your overall health. Letting go of those negative emotions and moving past them lessens anxiety and depression, which can then result in lower blood pressure, improved heart health, and more.
It can also give you a boost of self-esteem. And, finding peace of mind also means you’ll be able to start developing healthier relationships. Letting go of the negative allows you to feel calm and more focused on the present. You will also start feeling more positive emotions, like the ability to emphasize with others or feeling more gratitude towards those in your life.
Forgiveness is a choice
You need to make a conscious decision to let go of those negative emotions. Holding a grudge is easy, but forgiveness is not. The first step of forgiveness is to reflect on the event and how it made you feel. Try to figure out why the person behaved as they did and how you would have reacted in the same situation.
Depending on what happened, reach out to the person you’re forgiving and talk through the situation. If you were a victim, instead of forgiving the other person, let go of expectations and focus on forgiving yourself and letting yourself realize the situation is not a measure of your self-worth.
Struggling to forgive
If you’re struggling to forgive someone, you may need outside support to help you through your emotions. You could talk to a friend about your struggles, look into these interesting forgiveness spells by Magickal Spot, or contact a therapist.
A therapist is good when you need an outside perspective. They’ll talk you through your emotions and help you develop a plan to work through them. They’ll help you gain a more balanced view of the event. Usually, their work will include taking you through the four steps of forgiveness or by using some other type of intervention. Forgiveness can be hard, but therapy is one way to begin moving through those emotions.
Some people are naturally more forgiving than others, while others have to consciously decide to forgive. Just remember — forgiveness isn’t about reconciliation. Sometimes reconciliation happens as a result, but forgiveness is about letting go of negative emotions you’re holding onto. And letting go of those negative emotions will only boost your mental and physical health!