In a world filled with endless opportunities to oppress one another, it takes quite a lot to forgive and forget. Past studies have shown humans to be awful at forgiving. It’s pretty surprising how great we are at holding grudges. But what is it that motivates us to forgive others?
The reasons behind our decision to let go of our anger are vast and convoluted. For example, you may feel pressured to let it go because people are watching you move forward with your life. Perhaps you’re afraid of being judged by those who know about your situation or want to move on without constantly thinking about the past.
As you can see, there’s a wide range of reasons why we choose to forgive. So what makes us open up and let go, and how can you harness that power? Let’s do all these in this article.
What Does It Mean to Forgive?
Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a person changes feelings and attitude regarding an offense; lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, forswears recompense from or punishment of the offender, however legally or morally justified it might be, and with an increased ability to wish the offender well.
Forgiveness is different from condoning (failing to see the action as wrong and in need of forgiveness), excusing (not holding the offender responsible for the action), forgetting (removing awareness of the offense from consciousness), pardoning (granted by a representative of society, such as a judge), and reconciliation (restoration of a relationship).
When you forgive someone, you stop feeling angry or resentful toward them. For example, if someone apologizes for breaking your phone, you might forgive them by saying, “That’s okay.”
Forgiveness can be a big step. It might involve letting go of a grudge or accepting an apology. When you forgive someone, it doesn’t mean that what they did was okay; it just means that you’re ready to move on from the situation.
What Are the Most Important Reasons to Forgive?
Forgiveness is one of our most difficult emotions and one of the most essential. As hard as it is to forgive others who have hurt us, we are the ones who benefit. It can be challenging to understand and even more difficult to practice. It seems counter-intuitive that forgiving someone can bring us so much good, but there are many reasons that forgiveness is worth it.
Here are some of the important reasons to forgive:
- Your mental health will improve.
Holding on to resentment and anger can be harmful to your mental health. Forgiving those wronged you can help you move forward and make room for more positive feelings and experiences.
- Your physical health will improve.
Studies show that forgiveness can lead to improved physical and mental health. Those who hold on to grudges often suffer from stress-related illnesses such as headaches and stomach aches, which can be avoided by choosing forgiveness.
- Forgiving helps you heal.
Holding onto anger, hurt, and resentment is like drinking poison and hoping another person suffers. You may think that holding onto anger helps you to come out on top in an argument or disagreement, but the truth is that it rarely has this effect. Holding onto these negative emotions often causes more harm to you than to anyone else involved.
- Forgiveness brings inner peace and happiness.
If you cannot forgive someone who has wronged you or yourself for mistakes made years ago, how can you expect to experience true inner peace? It’s not possible while resentment festers inside of your heart. Let go of the past by forgiving and moving on with your life.
- Forgiveness is a sign of strength.
Forgiving isn’t always easy, but it takes great strength to let go of negative emotions in favor of peace and well-being. Some may mistake forgiveness as a sign of weakness because it stems from compassion — but it’s a sign of strength.
Why Is Forgiveness Difficult for Some People?
Forgiveness is one of the most challenging things to do in life. It can be done, but it will take time and effort.
Forgiving someone is not the same as forgetting what they did to you. Humans can forgive, but we can’t forget everything said or done to us. If you are still upset after forgiving someone, you haven’t forgiven them. You need to take your time and let go of your past before moving forward with your future.
What Motivates Us to Forgive?
What does it take for us to forgive after someone has hurt us? How do you know when it’s safe to let go of the hurt, anger, and resentment caused by betrayal, rejection, or abandonment? What if your offender doesn’t deserve to be forgiven? What if you’ve tried repeatedly but can’t seem to move past the pain?
It appears that three primary factors influence our motivation to forgive:
- The desire for revenge
- The desire for reconciliation
- The desire for inner peace
Reasons You Should Forgive Others in Life
Forgiveness is not a sign of weakness or acceptance of some dire situation. It would help if you understood that forgiveness makes you feel better and lighter. It does not mean you have accepted the wrong behavior practiced by someone, but you are strong enough to let go of the hurt and anger caused by another person’s wrongdoing.
However, there are several reasons why you should forgive others in life. Here we have listed some important reasons to forgive others in life:
- To free yourself from worry and stress.
- To help you focus on something else more positive in your life.
- To have peace of mind and move forward with your life.
- To not let another person’s actions affect you negatively and cause you harm.
- To not be bitter, angry, or resentful about falling into a trap because it was created by another person to trap you in that state of mind. If you choose to stay there, then it’s your choice!
- Forgiving others will help you grow and improve at what you do in this world!
- To learn more about yourself through the experiences that others have had with you; it may help them understand something new about themselves too!
Lastly, forgiveness brings healing for yourself and those around you who were involved in some way with your situation; whether directly or indirectly, forgiveness can heal all wounds over time if given enough patience!
Forgiveness is restoring a relationship to the status quo ante or similar conditions. It’s not being asked to forget what happened, but it’s also not being held responsible in the same way moving forward. In short, it closes an emotional door. But there are many ways we can be motivated to forgive.
By looking more closely at these factors, I hope we can learn more about forgiveness and how we may better facilitate its feeling on both sides of wrongdoing.
- Baskin, T. W., & Enright, R. D. (2004). Intervention Studies on Forgiveness: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Counseling & Development, 82(1), 79–90. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.1556-6678.2004.tb00288.x
- Wade, N. G., Hoyt, W. T., Kidwell, J. E., & Worthington, E. L. (2014). Efficacy of psychotherapeutic interventions to promote forgiveness: A meta-analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 82(1), 154–170. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0035268