Forgiveness – What’s It About?

Forgiveness is a concept fraught with many feelings and beliefs. It is often confused with something that is provided to benefit the perpetrator of a hurtful act. While it may provide a benefit to the perpetrator, the reason to consider forgiveness towards someone who has hurt you is really to benefit yourself.

Hurtful acts perpetrated against us frequently cause us to carry ongoing pain. That pain can take the form of fear, anger and/or resentment.

Holding onto these feelings narrows our vision and steeps our focus on the source or the person responsible for these intense negative emotions.

With that, we are less available emotionally and to some extent also physically and instrumentally. It takes away therefore from meeting our children’s needs, those of our intimate partner and those of friends. When our pain continues, it can lead to depression and anxiety. Unresolved depression or anxiety can further lead to our own misfortune. While it is bad enough when hurt by the deeds of others, it can be worse when the management of our feelings create the conditions for additional distress.

Forgiving, or letting go then, has nothing to do with no longer seeking to hold the other accountable for their misdeed. It has nothing to do with trusting the other person at all.

Forgiveness is about choosing to let go of one’s own focus on the pain, misdeed or need for apology or retribution. It is about relieving ourselves of the negative energy associated with hanging on and focusing on the hurt or source of the hurt. This in turn frees us to be available again to others, those who matter most to us and those we care about.

Forgiveness enables us to continue with life; to walk a better path of mental health and reengage in wholesome relationships.

Forgiveness is all about healing yourself and finding your livable understanding to make sense of transgressions that no longer require your anger or need for retribution. It is about you finding peace with yourself.

If you are having trouble letting go, if hurts over past transgressions are interfering with you and your relationships, then consider counseling to help gain perspective and relief. Forgive to your own benefit.

Julie Sharp

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