Forgiving people can be very hard, but it comes with a lot of benefits for those who practice it; here are five mental health benefits of forgiveness.
“Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness.”– Marianne Williamson
Mental Health Benefits of Forgiveness
#1 Helps in Letting Go Of Negative Emotions
When you hold on to anger and hurt feelings, you are holding onto a lot of negativity. Sure, negative feelings are a part of life. But wallowing in them and nurturing them does not do you any favors!
When you practice forgiveness, essentially you are releasing those negative feelings. You don’t have to forget what they did to you, you just need to forgive them–for yourself– and move on.
#2 Frees You to Focus On Something Else
Just like the saying, the truth will set you free, forgiveness sets you free. When you release your focus on the wrong that was done and the feelings that you had etc…you free up your mental energy and this energy can be used in all kinds of positive and self-supporting ways.
Holding a grudge is exhausting and harmful for your mental health. When you are able to forgive and move on, you can put that focus and energy elsewhere. Maybe practice a bit more self-care. Maybe do something charitable for the world at large.
“It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.”– St Francis of Assisi
#3 Helps Create Stable Relationships
When you hold onto grudges, your negative feelings affect the relationship you have with the person you’re mad at. This can color your daily reactions to them as time goes on and harm your relationship.
Forgiveness is part of a healthy relationship. You are not letting them “off the hook” for what they did, but you are moving on. You are allowing your relationship to continue beyond the hurtful moment. This allows you to have deeper relationships, which is better for your overall mental health.
#4 Releases Tension and Anxiety
Holding onto anger and hurt feelings not only increases your negative mindset, but it also increases tension and anxiety. The pain of the “incident” is not allowed to fade from both mind and body when you hold onto it mentally.
As discussed previously, there are various ways to forgive people. You just have to find a method that works for you. Hopefully, you won’t have the need to do this daily, but making it a routine when you do need it is important.
I like to use Ho’oponopono, as I have mentioned before. Here is a video for you to try. 🙂
#5 Helps You Find Inner Peace
Unresolved anger and irritation make it really hard to experience inner peace. Re-hashing hurtful events keeps the feelings that came with it alive and well . This way of being results in a lot of inner turmoil.
When you are able to forgive and move on, letting go of the thing that hurt you, you become open to experiencing inner peace. Just as meditation helps clear your mind, forgiveness clears a path for inner peace. Releasing the conflict opens the door.
There are many benefits to practicing forgiveness in your life. These benefits apply to the person being forgiven, to be sure. But more importantly, and for our purposes here, the mental health benefits of forgiveness apply to the one doing the forgiving. It’s a win-win!
Who will you choose to forgive today?