“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”— Paul Boese
I’ve come to a realisation that I’m not as forgiving as I thought I was. I’m the kind of person that deals with things through anger, avoiding confrontation and cutting people out of my life. Over the past year, life has been teaching me how to forgive. I’ve found myself in situations that I couldn’t run away from like I usually do, I’ve had to learn to confront things, forgive and understand why forgiveness is an important art to master in life.
Forgiveness is the decision to let go of any negative feelings towards a person or a situation. With that said forgiving does not mean that you forget the wrong that was committed against you, that you make excuses for the wrongs committed or that you turn a blind eye and put yourself in a harmful situation. Instead, it is releasing yourself from the negative feelings caused by the wrongs committed against you. Here is why is it important to learn to forgive:
1.Forgive to set yourself free
There’s a saying: “Not forgiving is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to get hurt or die.” When you hold on to feelings of anger, sadness or resentment, the only person hurting is yourself. Holding on to negative feelings and acting from a place of hurt can be draining, harmful to your physical and emotional wellbeing and it reduces the quality of your life. It gives the person that hurt you power over you. The person that hurt you carries on with their life while you miss out on your life by holding on to the negative feelings. You must forgive, not for the other person but for yourself. You must forgive to set yourself free.
2. Forgive to be present
When you hold onto negative feelings, it is hard to be present because your brain keeps replaying the past events that led to you feeling angry, sad or resentful. Forgiving gives you the power to accept that the past is in the past, it cannot be changed. It gives you the power to leave the past behind and concentrate on the present moment. Being present can help you realise that you have good things in your life that you should be grateful for and we all know gratitude helps improve the quality of your life.
3.Forgive to for growth
Forgiving gives you the power to step away from the situation, look at it from a bird’s eye view and ask yourself “what did I learn from this situation?” In life, bad things don’t just happen to get you. Bad things happen to all of us and they happen to teach us lessons, to make us grow and to make us become better versions of ourselves. However, we can only become better versions of ourselves if we are open to the lessons that life throws in our direction. So, instead of holding on to the negative feelings caused by a situation or a person, ask yourself what you learned from the situation. You might find that what happened to you was a blessing in disguise.
Ultimately, forgiveness is strength. It empowers you to set your self free from being bound by situations or people. It empowers you to realise that you can’t control people or situations but you can control your reaction. Forgiveness is a gift to yourself for a better life. With that said, it is definitely easier said than done to practise forgiveness but I think it is definitely something worth practising.