According to the dictionary to forgive means (1) compassionate feelings that support a willingness to forgive (2) the feeling that motivates compassion (3) the act of ending anger. I think forgiveness is just letting go of anything that has hurt us, whether it is (what we perceive) as a mean comment, disagreement with someone that has evolved into something more, or the feeling that we have been taken advantage of. Did you know that no one can make us angry?! That’s what the “experts” say. It is other people’s, (or even our own) words and actions or lack of words and actions that can “trigger” our anger. So, how do you let go, especially when you feel you are justified in feeling the way you do?
Forgiveness doesn’t mean excusing, minimizing or condoning an injustice or hurt inflicted on us. Neither does it mean that we surrender our right to justice if, for example someone has cheated us out of money. Forgiveness is a process (which may take a day, a month, a year or a lifetime) during which we seek, with God’s grace, to eliminate from our mind and heart all resentment that we hold toward another. Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves so that we do not remain stuck in the past and in our pain living as victims of some big hurt or injustice. Forgiveness is the powerful assertion that bad things will not ruin my today or future even though they may have ruined several of my yesterdays.
The above quotation is from the book, How to Forgive Yourself and Others. When we forgive we are living in the present, and going forward. Going through a difficult period with a family member or friend, can ultimately make the relationship stronger and more resilient than before. On the other hand, it can also tear it apart. There are so many factors and no one has all the “right” answers, regardless of what the experts tell us! How many times have we read something written by the “experts” and based on “data” that turned out to be wrong! It’s important to remember YOU are the expert when it comes to your life. It isn’t your spouse, your closest friends, your parent, or anyone else. Ask yourself this question regarding the person or people you have a conflict with–Are you happy with how things are? If not do you want to resolve the conflict? Whether you choose to go forward or not consider the following.
The benefits of forgiveness have been presented by numerous studies on forgiveness. These studies were conducted in the fields of psychology, medicine, social science, and religion, and they concur in establishing the importance of positive emotions: gratitude, faith, love, forgiveness, hope, caring, and so on. According to these studies, such emotions and virtues have a definite impact on our cardiovascular functioning in particular, and our well-being in general. Indeed, people who practice forgiveness report fewer health problems, feel better psychologically and emotionally, have less stress, and increase the efficient response of their immune system.
However, you choose to go forward regarding a minor or major personal conflict here is my two cents in a nutshell!
- Accept others for who they are
- Accept yourself for who you are
- Live in the present, not the past
- Have gratitude for all the good things in your life
- Let go of the past
- Reach out to someone you care about every day
- Confide in someone who will listen without judging
- Start anew