"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."
– Mahatma Gandhi
The ability to forgive is an important personality trait that can reduce stress and anxiety while helping you forge lasting, positive relationships. According to a study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, holding grudges can literally act as a weight on your shoulders. Researchers from Erasmus University Rotterdam asked participants to reflect on either a time when they had forgiven someone or a time when they did not forgive someone. Soon after, participants were asked to jump as high as they could. Researchers discovered that participants who has reflected on forgiveness were able to jump higher than their counterparts.
Forgiving someone may or may not be an easy task, however, depending on the circumstance. If a coworker unknowingly took your soda out of the office break room, you can probably forgive him or her with relative ease. But if a coworker sabotaged you with the intend to stealing your job, you may find it difficult to forgive him or her.
Accept the Incident
The first step towards forgiving someone for a wrongdoing is to accept the incident. Instead of telling yourself "I can't believe so-and-so did that!," acknowledge the fact that it did happen. Thinking about the incident and what caused it now will allow you to push it out of your mind later. Failure to acknowledge it will only result in unanswered questions later down the road, forcing you to relive the moment while making forgiveness even more difficult.
Forgiveness is Not Excusing
It's important to note that forgiving someone is not the same as excusing him or her for their actions. Most psychologists define the term as a conscious decision to release negative feelings of resentment, anger and vengeance towards someone who has caused you harm. So by forgiving someone, you are not excusing him or her for what they did; you are merely acknowledging the fact that it's time to move on instead of holding grudges.
Find the Silver Lining
I know this is easier said than done, but try to find the silver lining. Sure, the incident may have caused you stress and harm, but perhaps you'll come out a stronger person as a result. There's always a silver lining to bad incidents and situations. It's up to you, however, to take acknowledge and take advantage of them. In doing so, you'll feel more comfortable forgiving the individual for his or her wrongdoing.
Time really does heal all wounds, physically and emotionally. If you are having trouble with forgiveness, be patient while focusing your energy towards other, more positive things. As long as you aren't holding a grudge, the harmful incident will soon become a distant memory, in which case you can forgive the individual.
Get the support you need to make important life changes. If you would like to complement your therapy with an alternative treatment option (or need a place to start), you might consider trying hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy can help you sort out your feelings and give you the courage and strength you need to move on with your life, set new goals, and rebuild an always damaged self-esteem.
Call for your FREE consultation. No pressure. No obligation. Let me help you understand what this might mean for you. Hypnosis and Life Coaching have helped many. Let it help you.