How Forgiving Others Is Beneficial to Your Mental Health
With Global Forgiveness Day right around the corner (July 7th), it’s as important as ever to understand just how significant forgiving others can be, as well as the effect that this action has on our personal well-being.
Since forgiveness can be difficult for individuals to put into practice, Global Forgiveness Day seeks to help us become more familiar with this process for the betterment of ourselves and those around us. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of forgiveness and its overall correlation with our emotional well-being so we can learn and apply these practices ourselves if we want to.
Benefits of Forgiveness
Perhaps the best way to analyze the benefits of forgiveness is to define what forgiveness actually means. Described as the act of pardoning someone after an offense, forgiveness also entails the process of letting go of anger, feelings of resentment, jealousy, and other negative mindsets. In theory, this process seems like a relatively simple task to accomplish, but in practice, making the decision to forgive someone can be a massive and complicated challenge.
Some common reasons why forgiveness can be so difficult include:
- Mistaking Forgiveness For Approval – We often think that if we forgive someone, it means that we believe what the person did was okay or just. However, this couldn’t be more incorrect since forgiveness is instead more about healing than it is reconciliation. We are in no way forced to fix a relationship with someone; the self-betterment of forgiving others comes from fixing these negative emotions on an internal level.
- A Person Doesn’t Deserve Forgiveness – This sentiment may seem like it holds a lot of weight, and sometimes it does, but forgiving others is not about the other person; it’s about you.
- Anger Outweighs All – One of the most complicating negative effects of not forgiving someone is the anger we allow to build up in ourselves. Forgiving someone might be the exact way to soothe that anger.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the primary benefits of forgiveness as they relate to our own mindset:
- Helps to Form Healthier Relationships – When we hold anger or resentment toward another individual, it can sometimes trickle into our other relationships as well. By forgiving others, we shape our own dynamic with friends and family in a positive light and strengthen bonds in the process.
- Benefits us Physically – High blood pressure, insomnia, and other physical complications can sometimes directly result from stress. Since anger and resentment can lead to stress, forgiving others can help to restore our physical state.
- Helps Create and Maintain Friendships – Ego can often be a complicating factor in a friendship that causes roadblocks. When an individual is able to lessen that ego and better themselves mentally, they can more easily bond with others and form friendships that will last.
How You Can Start Forgiving Others
Your road to forgiveness and healing may not be easy, and we’re not here to tell you everyone is deserving of forgiveness; ultimately, the choice to forgive is up to you. However, everyone can incorporate various practices into their lives that can help.
Consider these practices and mindsets to help you start forgiving others:
- Develop Empathy – Putting yourself in another person’s shoes can help with your ability to forgive. By finding empathy and learning to understand the emotions of others, you can get a more clear idea of what they’re also going through and how that could’ve affected what they did or said.
- Writing & Journaling – Writing our thoughts down is an easy way to help fix negative emotions. It allows us to conceptualize thoughts that may be jumbled in our brains and visualize what we can do to help our situation.
- Forgive Yourself – In instances where the context of your resentment may be reflected in your own insecurities or uncertainties, it’s important to learn to forgive yourself so you can begin to forgive others just the same.
- Call Upon Other Strengths – Always remember that if you are struggling with forgiveness, it doesn’t make you a failure at doing so. The process takes time, and often it’s beneficial to take your other strengths and use them to your advantage. Give yourself a good stream of support, be open to talking with others, and practice humility.
Find Your Strength of Character
At Retreat Synergy Health Programs, we offer comprehensive services and programs that help patients with a variety of mental health conditions. Our dedicated team of professionals helps our patients overcome everyday challenges while developing the tools for long-term success in the outside world. Contact us today to learn more about our programs or for any additional questions or comments.