The law of forgiveness. "You are mentally healthy to the degree to which you can forgive and forget the grievances against you". The ability to forgive is the mark of a fully developed and superior human being. It is the core message of Christianity.
Forgiveness is essential for our emotional and physical well-being. Research shows that non-forgiveness can lead to an increased risk of heart problems, increased level of stress and anxiety, and a greater level of unhappiness.
People may think that there has got to be a forgiver and the person that needs to be forgiven in the forgiveness equation but that is not the case, all there needs to be is the forgiver.
It doesn’t mean that you have to reconcile with the person that hurt you or even say a word to them. Forgiveness is what you do for yourself to get rid of negative emotions. Forgiveness doesn’t mean excusing or forgetting what happened, you simply detach from the hurtful thoughts and the resulting feelings attached to the action of the person who hurt you.
When the action happened was the moment of pain, what you do with the action after the event happened is what is causing you to be suffering.
Acceptance is coming to terms with what happens, it doesn’t mean you like what happened you just accept it as an event on your life’s journey. When you get cognitively engaged with what happened, why did this happen to me? how dare that person, I didn’t deserve, etc you are turning the pain of the event into lingering suffering.
So, by having anger and hatred for the person who hurt you, you are continuing the moment of pain into the present. It is foolish to be in an ongoing state of suffering about an event from the past while the person who caused the hurt is somewhere having a good time.
When you don’t forgive you are allowing the person to control your feelings presently. It means that the place in your heart where love should reside is taken up with anger and hatred. If you are suffering from an event in the past, you are creating your own suffering by attaching your present thoughts and feelings to the event.
Forgive and move on, don’t get stuck in the past. Don’t allow your spirit to be killed by what others did to you. When you forgive you grow, forgiveness is a sign of strength, not weakness. “With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.” – Wayne Dyer.
True forgiveness is forgiving and forgetting as though it never happened, creating a clean slate with that person. As in the case with any person, you have to decide what relationship you will have in the future with the person if any. We must learn from our experiences with people and prevent future pain, so it may be necessary to have no relationship with the person.
In addition to forgiving others, we must also forgive ourselves. We are supposed to make mistakes, it is ok to make mistakes, we must forgive ourselves. Sometimes people feel that they should suffer for doing something wrong but suffering doesn't change what happened.
There are reasons to make mistakes, we are human - to err is human to forgive is divine, we learn from our mistakes - this is what we call experience, we gain wisdom.
At any moment of time, we are doing the best we can do with the perceptual and emotional resourcefulness that we had at that moment. We simply did not know any better then. We should learn from the past and let it go. A good question to ask yourself " what have I learned from what happened that makes me a better person today?".