Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness. Forgive is to give up resentment of or claim to requital for something.
Some of the benefits of forgiveness include relief from the toxic effects of unhealed emotional pain, resentment and grudge holding. By going through a forgiveness process one may experience the following:
- Ability to observe self and others more compassionately and make more conscious choices with respect to unsatisfying emotional patterns, belief systems and personality patterns.
- Ability to know and communicate needs in a wiser manner and to obtain these in a more skillful way.
- Identify and connect with that part of self that is the source of love, strength, wisdom and creativity within us. This allows greater levels of unconditional love.
- Understand and balance the energies of both love and will, the feminine and masculine sides of our nature, thus allowing for greater skill to be both nurturing and strong simultaneously.
- Obtain a sense of wholeness and deep healing. This includes improvements in physical functioning of the body, healing of emotions, mind and its belief systems and relationships.
- Find a sense of purpose in life and the ability to give of ones talents to the community in which one lives. This increases ones satisfaction of relationships and activity in society.
While it is human to “hold a grudge” when one has been “wronged”, there is growing evidence that suggests that unresolved anger is bad for your physical and mental health. Although it is often impossible, even undesirable, to forget what happened, granting forgiveness has many benefits. Forgiveness is a decision. When will you decide to begin the process?
“Without forgiveness life is governed by an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation.” — Roberto Assagioli