Jesus said to always turn the other cheek, when someone did you wrong. In other words, it means to forgive, because humans are subjected to error. Whether they do it on purpose or without having sufficient knowledge, doing it involuntarily, people make mistakes, often hurting others. But this is more than just spiritual advice, also having effects on our mental state and overall well-being. Does holding a grudge against someone make your life better? Does it make you happier? The answer is no, because this feeling is charged with negativity, making you feel irritable, unhappy, disappointed, sad, and even depressive in some cases. Forgiveness helps us bring closure to an event that hurt us.
When we say the word forgiveness, we often think about people that did something that hurt us or disappointed us. But, it should also include our own person. It is wise to know how to forgive ourselves, and live in peace and harmony with who we are. We all make mistakes and it is part of life to learn from them. It doesn’t matter that you failed at an exam or chose the wrong partner for your romantic relationship, because both of these things and others as well, can be remediated, once we learn the lesson that needs to be learned. If you failed at an exam, it means that you will need to study more and be better prepared, so you will succeed next time. If you realise that the person you are dating is the wrong one for you, you can end the relationship and move on. We do our best to make the right decisions, although time will prove that these choices are not always the best option. So we need to be able to accept our mistakes and forgive ourselves, so we can move on and be happy. The absence of self-forgiveness can lead to destructive behaviours like suicide attempts, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, or eating disorders.
But how about forgiving others? When someone hurts us, the immediate feelings that seem to overwhelm our mind and body are disappointment, anger, sadness, resentment, and even revenge. We also have the tendency to avoid that person, refusing to see or talk to him or her. But is this the smart way to react? As time passes by and our wounds heal, we will start to realise that what we thought happened was mostly made-up in our imagination. Many marriages, friendships or family relationships have been destroyed this way, because one person could not even entertain forgiveness. It can be very hard to remake a connection that was broken abruptly, as the more time passes by, the harder it gets to establish contact with that person. So we come to realise that we lost a friend or someone dear because we were not able to forgive, losing years that could have been very nurturing and meaningful.
It is impossible not to get hurt at some point, because people will say or do something wrong that will lead to you getting hurt, without them even knowing what they are doing. For example, your mother criticised your cooking skills, or your colleague left you to team up with someone else for a project. There are many similar common examples of situations that occur, making us feel resentment, hate, and bitterness with the people involved. So, the question is, can we really live happily this way? Can we hold on to so much hate and bitterness for all the people that hurt us, in one way or another? If you have been hurt already, you probably know just how hard it is to live engulfed in negative feelings. That is why we need to practice forgiveness, because without it, our lives can become sunken in sorrow.
So what are the benefits of forgiveness? First of all, it will help you let go of the bitterness and anger you feel, allowing you to welcome in peace and happiness. It will enable you to maintain healthy relationships with the people around you, while also promoting greater psychological well-being. You will feel much better after forgiving someone, releasing the tension from inside yourself, and your overall health will benefit from lowered blood pressure and a boosted immune system.