It sounds easy, doesn’t it? As the song says, “let it go “. However, it’s usually not as simple as that. Why is it often so hard to forgive people and let go of grudges, real or perceived? Often, it is because someone we love and trust has hurt us in a way that has left us feeling angry and resentful. We may choose not to forgive initially because we may equate it with minimizing the issue and excusing the behavior. Deciding to forgive and let go doesn’t mean that the original act is forgotten about, but it can release a hold it has on us, and take away its power.
Naturally, being hurt by someone we care about can make us angry, sad, and cause us to be less trusting. But by not being open to forgiveness, it can color the way we experience new relationships, limit our enjoyment of the present, and possibly lead to feeling depressed or anxious. By letting go we can free ourselves up to enjoy healthier future relationships while taking lessons we’ve learned with us. Forgiveness can be viewed as a process of change, allowing acknowledgment of emotions regarding the harm done, as well as transitioning away from the role of a victim by releasing the power the situation held in your life.
There are many positive benefits to learning to forgive others and move on. Some of those include less stress and hostility, lowered blood pressure, improved self-esteem, and healthier relationships. What if you’re trying to forgive, but having a hard time moving forward? Perhaps try to see the situation from the other person’s point of view, and ask yourself why they might have behaved that way. Think about if there were any issues in the past where others may have forgiven you and how that felt. Try writing your thought and feelings in a journal as a way of releasing them. Also, keep in mind that forgiving someone doesn’t necessarily have to mean reconciliation with the other person. It can be viewed us simply a way for you to move on from the control the situation had over you.
We cannot control other people’s words or actions, but we can let go of how they made us feel and take back the control over how we respond to others. It can also provide us renewed feelings of empathy and compassion.
So something to think about the next time you’re feeling hurt and angry: forgiveness might just be the healing
Written by: Kristen Pagulayan