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How To Practice Forgiveness and Be Happier: 4 Simple Tips

practice forgiveness and be happier

We think that forgiveness is a weakness, but it’s absolutely not; it takes a very strong person to forgive.” – T. D. Jakes

Many people believe that forgiveness is a form of weakness. But that’s far from the truth. Forgiveness takes a lot of strength and courage than holding on to a grudge. This is why not everyone can practice forgiveness despite it being one of the most important things you can learn in life.

“You are wrong, I am right.”

Humans are eternally flawed just as Alexander Pope said ‘To err is human’.

In your lifetime, you sure have been wronged by one or the other person who you couldn’t forgive yet. Be it your friend, your colleague, your ex-partner, or even your parents, letting go of the pain they inflicted on you is definitely not legitimate.

When you recall the entire context, you know for sure you do not need any logical justification to move on from the resentment and bitterness you hold against that person. You know they are wrong and you are innocent. That is all you need to perpetuate the grudge that you hold towards them.

You are not generally unaware of the counterproductivity of negative emotions that you hold against the offender, but you are not ready to give away your victim mentality. Every time you try justifying their behavior, you end up justifying yours. 

Related: Understanding The 4 Stages Of Forgiveness

In a context where you know that you have been wronged, betrayed, manipulated, cheated on, or worse still emotionally abused and victimized, it’s justified for you to be vengeful. In fact, for you, the only possible way to punish the perpetrator is to never forgive him/her.

As trivial as the perpetration might be, the core belief behind being unable to forgive is that forgiving will lead to us condoning the actions of the offender, subtly giving them the cue that they have the power to mess with people’s lives and get away with it. On the other side, it makes the victim feel powerless to let go of the offender without punishing them. 

But here’s the twist.

We can experience inner peace only when we learn to forgive those who have wronged us. Practicing forgiveness allows us to change our perceptions and let go of past trauma so that we can finally start healing ourselves.

“Inner peace can be reached only when we practice forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go of the past and is, therefore, the means for correcting our misperceptions.” – Gerald Jampolsky

Why Forgive?

Forgiveness is a decision where an individual intentionally and willingly decides to let go of feelings of bitterness, hatred, vengeance and resentment towards another person who may have hurt them. One can forgive someone regardless of whether the person deserves to be forgiven or not. It is a process that marks the change in the victim’s mindset and attitude and the release of negative emotions, like aggression. The victim may even attain such a positive state of mind to wish the offender well.

But why wish offenders well? Why forgive their malicious intent and accept them as they are?

Because it’s about you and not them.

When we are hurt by someone, hoping for the person’s well-being is the last thing that comes to our mind. The initial, immediate response to being wronged is to wish the person suffering, sorrow, discontentment, and emotional turmoil. We often tell ourselves “I wish this person faces the same things that he/she made me go through.” “He/she should taste a dose of karma.” “I wish this person suffers as much as I did.”

I wish this person faced the same things that he/she made me go through.” 

“He/she should taste a dose of karma.” 

“I wish this person suffers as much as I did.”

We lose our rationale as we are overcome with anger, frustration, and extreme aggression towards this particular person. We mistakenly start believing that every time we silently curse them, wish them ill-being, plan revenge on them, withhold affection, we are actually being in control and are successful in ‘punishing’ the other person for their deed. We believe the more we delay forgiveness, the harsher will be the lesson they learn.

But as we require some time to process our emotional pain and suffering, we give ourselves reasons to avoid forgiveness and focus more on taking revenge. We hope and expect that the wrongdoer will regret their actions and apologize so that we can forgive them. Unfortunately, most of the time the offender may not repent, keeping us from experiencing inner peace and happiness.

Ask yourself, are those suppressed, dysregulated negative emotions slowly spreading its bitterness within you, very constructive?

Is it making you feel better over time? Or is it making you lose your mental peace?

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Shreyasi Debnath

An editor and writer keeping keen interest in painting, creative writing and reading. I did my Masters in Clinical and Counselling Psychology and have been a counselling psychologist at a primary school for the past 1 year. I love doing absolutely anything that mends a mind and soothes a soul. Most often than not, I ponder over to come up with poems. A wandering soul in search for meaning.View Author posts