“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and realize that prisoner was you.”
Often in life we get offended or get hurt by other people’s words or actions. Sometimes that person is a random stranger on a street or some acquaintance you aren’t really close to. But what happens when that person is a dear one or somebody who actually matters to you. You can stay upset and angry over them. Curse them with all your heart and wish all the bad things happening to them. One can even get all mean and merciless and plan on a cold revenge over them. That might get you some peace at heart but don’t forget there is another way to grace and that is by forgiving.
Now forgiveness doesn’t mean that your partner cheats on you out of a habit and you still keep forgiving them every time without making them realize their mistake. Forgiveness doesn’t always have to be accompanied with reconciliation. The person you are forgiving may or may not be a part of your life anymore depending upon the situation and what they deserve. But forgiveness means letting go of the grudges and bitterness that has been holding you from being happy. Forgiveness can be a shift in thinking which goes from an ill-will to goodwill towards the person who has harmed you or has wronged you. It comes when you cut past the desire to take revenge and decide to move on, not for their sake but your own.
Forgiveness usually involves two steps – grieving and then letting go. Unless you go through the former step you can never be successful at the latter one. Grieving involves feeling the pain, the anger, the agony and the torment which you have felt because of somebody else. Even if it makes you cry then cry it all out but make sure you drain out all the misery along with your tears. And decide upon not crying for the same reason again. Once you have felt that grief the tougher step comes up next which is to move on.
Moving on is a lot more complicated step which is easier said than done. When you decide to forgive someone and move on, it doesn’t mean that you have excused their wrong doing or justified it. One can still choose to punish or make the doer apologize for their deed while forgiving them as forgiveness is not justice. Forgiveness is more about realizing your self-worth and whether the person who has hurt you is important and worthy enough to rob off your peace of mind? If they are then instead of holding a grudge against them it can be better to make them realize their mistake, choose to make them repent or not and forgive them while still taking protective measures to protect yourself from future harm and hurt.
Forgiveness can also at times change the attitude of the person who has wronged you. If somebody intentionally hurts you because they don’t want to see you happy then looking at you forgiving them and getting over their doing can creep them out or can even make them feel guilty about it while you become the better person over here.
Forgiveness doesn’t just provide you with a peace of mind but it also comes with a lot of health benefits. The simplest good it does to your health is by reducing stress. According to research it has been found that a mental grudge can put our body to the same levels of stress which are caused by some major stress-full event. It includes tensing of muscles, rise in blood pressure and increased sweating. Forgiveness is also advantageous for your heart as it improves blood pressure and heart rate. This clearly delineates that how forgiving is for yourself and not for the other person be it mentally or physically.
When you decide to let go and forgive some person you keep yourself above from them making you responsible and the driving force for your happiness which is in fact a great deal for your personal growth.
This reminds me of a recent incident where a small argument with a friend caused a huge fight between us. Though both of us were at fault but none of us were ready to let go our ego, bend a little and apologize. With no apologies came no forgiveness, at least not for the next one month. And no doubt that one month induced too much stress mentally.
Forgiveness often helps in creating stronger bonds and relationships. It has been observed that wives who tend to forgive their husbands for minute mistakes are able to keep stronger relationships. Forgiveness can save many relations and friendship, but more than that it can save you from a prolonged misery.
Now the words I started this article with. To forgive is to set a prisoner free. Yes, forgiveness is a key to freedom. But that freedom isn’t anybody else’s but yours. When you forgive you rise above the wrong give yourself (and/or the bonds) more importance than anything else. And all the energy and the spirit you were spending in nursing that hatred in your heart can now be utilized to stay happy!