To forgive is to put an end to a self-implicated period of resentment, anger, and/or indignation as a response to having been offended by someone. As close to the truth as the previous definition is, there is no one way of exactly identifying forgiveness. The manner whereby we view and practice forgiveness can vary in accordance to several factors—personality, culture, religious beliefs, social perspective, etc.
When we forgive those who have wronged us, we release ourselves from the negative memory and adverse feelings connected with the offense. Once the pain and negative impact the latter has generated lodge into our psyche, we are bogged down from moving forward and growing both spiritually and mentally. Letting go by forgiving the offense and the offender means decreasing or totally obliterating the needless weight of keeping and harboring negative memories and feelings. To choose not to forgive actually does no one any good at all, whether it be on the part of the offended person or the offender himself.
Besides the spiritual and mental relief provided by forgiveness, many researches have proven that it consequentially benefits our overall health as well. Mounting evidence shows that the more a person holds on to a grudge borne of his unforgiving heart, the higher his risks of coming down with illnesses in the long run. The many health advantages of forgiveness are as follows: decreased heart rate, depression and anxiety symptoms, chronic pain, blood pressure, hostility, and stress; improved anger management ability; reduced risk of alcohol and substance addiction; better, healthier relationships; more friends; and highly improved spiritual, psychological, and religious well-being.
When you have an unforgiving heart
What makes forgiving so challenging is the fact that we can only be hurt by the ones who are dearest to us. The pain of having our trust and personal expectations broken due to personal or relationship issues and circumstances shatters an important part of ourselves. Forming a special bond with people requires placing our confidence and hopes in them. Hence, we subconsciously build a safe world for ourselves where we are surrounded by people who would give us the kind of affection and nurturing we need to become whole.
Choosing to hold on to a grudge works to destroy us from within as time progresses. The more we hold on, the more the weight of the negative memory and feeling bogs us down and prevents us from becoming the complete and fulfilled individuals that we should be. The pain, anger, and bitterness resulting from the offense can wreck many areas of our lives. Like an ignored malignant illness that worsens over time, the extent of their impact can even destroy our entire lives if we do not act to reverse the effects immediately by forgiving.
If you have been harboring adverse emotions resulting from having been offended in the past, it automatically depletes your chances of getting the most out of the present. As hard as it is, forgiving is the only means through which you can finally release yourself from the vise grip of such a painful and destructive memory. To learn the indicators hinting that it is high time for you to consider forgiveness, read on.
You can’t keep yourself from ruminating over your particular painful memory. Every similar situation reminds you of it, and every time the memory returns, the pain is refreshed over and over again.
You are wallowing in self-pity.
You feel isolated and alone because no one seems to understand you.
You turn to addictive substances(drugs, alcohol, substance, etc.) in order to mask the pain.
Thoughts of avenging yourself or punishing your offenders cross your mind every once so often.
The tell-tale symptoms of depression and anxiety have begun to surface.
You feel remorseful over the loss of valued people in your life that resulted from the offense.
You drift aimlessly, thinking that neither your life nor you yourself has a purpose.
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