Source: The Most Powerful F Word: Forgiveness
We all know that sinking feeling of anger and resentment that creeps up when we least expect it. Whether your car got towed, your boyfriend ended things, or your parents constantly criticize your choices, you have two options of how to deal: you can make a scene or you can breathe and forgive. And it's not as easy as it sounds; after all, "forgiveness . . . is more than saying sorry." But it's worth it, and here's why.
- Forgiveness is freedom. When we forgive, we are giving ourselves the chance to think new thoughts and perceive our experiences with a new consciousness. Everyone makes mistakes, and by forgiving, we allow those who have done us wrong a chance to redeem themselves. After we forgive, the relationship is fresh and new. We can look at things with an untainted perspective.
- There is no future in the past. Letting go of what happened before is crucial. Holding on to past hurts only limits your future potential. And I know there are truly terrible things that happen that may seem unforgivable, but in order to move on, you've got to try to forgive. Otherwise, you're letting someone live rent-free in your head.
- Holding a grudge hurts one person. And that person is you. When we build up grudges, they live in our minds. Think about it. If you seek serious revenge on an ex-boyfriend and you spend hours plotting different scenarios out in your mind, is that hurting him? Not at all. It's only hurting you. Holding onto anger and resentment can have really serious psychological implications. But if you give yourself a chance to reflect and forgive, you'll be a far happier lady.
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- If you really want to try to move on, you've got to want it. This is a tough one. I know you want to move on and be over and done with this whole thing. But you've got to forgive before you forget. Think about a time as a child when you were forced to apologize but didn't really mean what you said. You felt no transformative change. (Unless getting out of time-out can be deemed as transformative.) But the same thought process lives here. When you're ready to truly forgive, you've got to really mean it and really have compassion for the other person. Otherwise, you'll remain stuck.
- Recognize and embrace your true feelings. What's even worse than holding a grudge is not acknowledging the anger or resentment you truly feel. But you've got to forgive before you forget. You may feel like you're simply above the person, experience, or relationship that caused you pain, but you're only human. Without the negative emotions, the good ones wouldn't feel as good.
- Sometimes, the best person you can forgive is yourself. Maybe you've been ruminating on an issue for days, weeks, or years. Half the battle may be forgiving yourself for your experience and the accepting way you processed your pain. Remember that it's all part of the process. There's no right or wrong way to handle your hurt.
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