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The Power of Forgiveness: How To Let Go of Resentment And Move Forward With Happiness

Forgiveness is a powerful trait that can bring emotional freedom to your life, yet for many, it is one of the hardest things to practice.

If you have ever been the victim of some form of wrong doing or injustice, it is natural to immediately feel resentment or anger towards the perpetrator.  However, when this resentment consumes your thoughts and emotions it can have a negative long term impact on your mental health and your ongoing relationships.

Here, we explore exactly why learning to practice forgiveness and being able to let go is such an important skill to master for the sake of a lifetime of emotional wellbeing.

What is Forgiveness?

Forgiveness is the act of letting go of resentment, anger or the desire for revenge toward someone who has harmed you or a loved one in some way.

The most important piece to realise about forgiveness is that it's not about forgetting or excusing the harmful behaviour of another.  Instead, it's about "freeing yourself" from the perpetrator and the associated emotional trauma that can otherwise rule your life if you allow it to. 

What makes forgiveness so difficult is that it requires you to emotionally release yourself from the individual who has done you harm or caused you pain.  It doesn't mean you need to forget, it means you need to ensure you don't allow them to dominate your thoughts and actions so that you can be free to move on with your life.

Forgiveness for Mental Health

Studies have shown that forgiveness can have significant benefits for ongoing mental health.

Letting go of anger and resentment is vital to reducing anxiety, stress and depression which is crucial for experiencing happiness, joy and fulfilment.

Also, forgiveness can also create a clearing for you to experience wholesome relationships with others, as it allows you to find space to build healthy, new connections that lift you up and give you hope.

Forgiveness Is A Process

Forgiveness is not easy because it is often a process that takes you time to arrive at.  The process of forgiveness involves acknowledging and accepting the hurt, wrongdoing or injustice you have experienced and making peace with it in some way.   This can take time to achieve, and in certain cases, it may also require you to take some form of responsibility for the part you played in the traumatic event which can be very difficult to do but is a vital step in the process.

How to Practice Forgiveness

There are several strategies that can help you become better at practicing forgiveness.

These include, developing empathy for the other person, practicing gratitude and self-compassion, seeking support from a trusted friend or professional therapist and engaging in activities that bring you joy and fulfilment.

However above all, you need to realise that no matter what happens in your life, the past does not equal the future.  In other words, you have the power within you to learn from your life experience and every situation and to give yourself permission to be free, to be kind to yourself, to move on and to grow.

How Forgiveness Benefits Your Relationships

The resentment that comes with being unable to forgive can infiltrate many parts of your life, but most significantly, your relationships with the people you care about.  This means, when you don't learn to forgive it can easily have a ripple effect on other important relationships in your life which can be a downward spiral.

On the other hand, when you're able to let go of past anger, resentment and any desire for retribution, it allows you to find space to effectively build stronger, loving  connections with those who are close to you.

Forgiveness can also improve your ability to resolve conflicts, as it allows you to approach just about any unstable situation with an open and compassionate heart and mindset.

The Main Take Away

Forgiveness is something that almost all of us are called upon to practice at various stages in life.

The extent to which you're able to practice forgiveness will greatly determine your ability to move on from harmful people or painful, traumatic events so that they don't rule your life.  This is why forgiveness is such an important life skill to master.

While forgiveness is never easy, it is a process that is well worth the effort because it frees you to move forward with your life  - to learn and grow from your experience and giving you permission to bring joy and fulfilment into your life which is something you definitely deserve.

Tolman Self Care.


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