Mr. Gerald Jampolsky, a famous psychiatrist writes:
“Forgiveness is the key to peace and happiness, and is the greatest healer of all.”
A brief history of forgiveness shows that from ancient times, spiritual, religious and moral teachings have extolled the necessity of forgiving others. However, leaders in psychology, including Freud, Jung and Adler, gave little or no attention to the topic. Since 1980 to present, more intensive and serious attention has been given and research conducted on the topic of forgiveness.
Psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky calls forgiveness “a shift in thinking” toward someone who has wronged you, “such that your desire to harm that person has decreased and your desire to do him good (or to benefit your relationship) has increased.”
Forgiveness is the willingness to let go off and release the hurtful past. It is an internal process where one learns to execute his free will to heal his own heart and mind. Forgiveness is also a natural resolution of the grief process, which is the necessary acknowledgment of pain and loss. Forgiveness can take time and it is perfectly fine if it appears too hard to forgive at first because of the pain, but gradually one should learn to do it in order to attain happiness.
To forgive is to feel the compassion, gentleness, tenderness, and caring that your heart has, setting yourself free from grudges, resentments and feelings of disgust. Through forgiveness we are released from the weight of fear, anger and pain leading to happiness, comfort and nourishment of the soul. It shows us a lighting path in pure darkness and helps us release ourselves from the shadows of revenge surrounding us. It helps us accept our past, and move on with the present for a better future healing our wounds of past grievances thus, leaving us with brighter and cleaner heart and soul.
Why is it so difficult to forgive?
The main reasons for people lacking the ability to forgive one another include lack of experience and expertise; anger; the fear of being hurt again; society and culture does not encourage the act forgiveness; denial; faking forgiveness; our egos get in the way; do not think it is necessary to forgive until the offender apologizes and if they do then we believe the apology is not sincere; cynical nature. These factors add to the people’s rigid beliefs towards forgiving other people’s faults and not being able to bring themselves out of the flashbacks they have of the incidents that they believe were unjust for them therefore, hard to forgive.
Benefits of forgiving
Forgiveness transforms bitterness into a neutral feeling, or even a positive feeling, making you happier. Research has revealed the many benefits of forgiving others and our own selves which include a decrease in stress, anxiety, depression and hostility; an increase in hope, self-esteem and well-being; more steadfast relationships with friends and family; improved cardiovascular functioning; less cynicism and more trust leading to better relationships and; a greater sense of control, power and resolution. Researchers are finding a powerful connection between forgiving others and our own well-being. It helps us sustain happiness, contentment and internal peace with ourselves. This increases self-esteem, productivity, successful relationships and positivity in the society. In addition to having a positive impact on your happiness, if you forgive, you’re more likely to be in better physical health, especially when it comes to your heart.
Therefore, we must try to remove the negative and hostile feelings from our life and concentrate on forgiving those who (intentionally or non-intentionally) ever wronged us. This will give us inner peace and tranquility and will eventually lead us to happiness and contentment with ourselves as well as with others. Life is too short to keep grudges and hatred for the fellow human beings.
Article contributed by Abeer Naseem (Skills)