Whether you’re seeking it, or extending it, modern psychologists affirm that it’s healthy to make forgiveness part of your life and attempt achieving reconciliation. That’s probably why you see many more public figures acknowledging their mistakes, because to move forward, you have to first sort out the past.
1. Most offences are forgivable. ‘To err is human’, otherwise, we would be standing with the gods. In little things as well as big, we all fall into behavior we regret later on. Empathy, or the ability to put ourselves in another’s shoes, is a skill that we need to train in, because it’s the first step to forgiving.
2. Carrying a grudge is tiring. An experimental research conducted by Erasmus University in the Netherlands found that bitterness over a past experience literally weighs you down. People were asked to write about a bad experience, then jump. The ‘forgivers’ jumped significantly higher than those still holding on to the grudge.
3. Religious people are more forgiving — Except for the fanatics who act in the name of any faith. Religions teach forgiveness as a basic tenet. Research shows that people who truly believe in a religion, or are spiritual, are much more likely to forgive trespasses.
4. Forgiveness leads to better health. Your blood pressure and heart rate increase when you’re in an angry state. Excessive aggravation can sometimes lead to heart attacks and strokes. On the other hand, training yourself to keep calm and letting go of bitterness keeps your circulation balanced.
5. Learn the five-step process. Like all skills, forgiveness can be learned. Admission of being wronged, responding by confrontation instead of bottling it up, working on separating the offence from the offender, coming to terms with pain, and finding meaning in your suffering by helping others — these steps will lead you to forgiveness and greater peace of mind.