This blog post was written by Lindsey Anderson, MSW, LCSW-IT a behavioral health therapist at the Beloit Area Community Health Center.
Forgiveness is easier said than done
Forgiveness is a process that requires acceptance, self-reflection, time, and patience. A common phrase that people live by, “I will forgive, but will not forget.” Is that true forgiveness?
Forgiveness is more than saying, “It’s okay” to someone that wronged you. It is about accepting the hurt that was caused and finding an inner peace to release unwanted emotions. When we hold on to anger, resentment, and sadness, we cannot fully forgive and learn from what happened.
You do not have to put yourself back into a relationship or situation that caused the hurt for the sake of others, but rather letting go of the emotions associated with the event to live a better life for yourself.
Benefits of forgiveness:
- Improved mental health
- Less anxiety, stress and hostility
- Lower blood pressure
- Fewer symptoms of depression
- A stronger immune system
- Improved heart health
- Improved self-esteem
- Health relationships
Effects of being unforgiving:
- Holding onto anger and bitterness into relationships
- Not being able to enjoy the present
- Depression and anxiety
- Feel that your life is lacking purpose or meaning
- Lose valuable and enriching connectedness with others
Seven Steps to Forgiveness
- Acknowledge the hurt: give context to the situation and the reasons behind the hurt
- Consider: How did it affect you? Has the pain changed you or someone else?
- Accept: You cannot change the past and your feelings will not change the event
- Determine: Determine if you want to forgive
- Repair: Repair and rebuild connections before going back to “normal”
- Learn: Find closure and what this process meant to you
Once you have found that forgiveness was given, in one form or another, you let go of the negativity that bind you to that other person.
- Negroni, Jon. “7 Steps to True Forgiveness.” Thriveworks.
- “Why Is It so Easy to Hold a Grudge?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 13 Nov. 2020.