“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” Forgiveness is so important and it is a process that starts with you. Being unforgiving of those who have wronged you only keeps you tied to that person and emotionally burdened by your hurt.
Why Forgiveness is so Important
Forgiveness is a topic that touches the depths of our human experiences. Whether we like it or not, we have all encountered hurt, betrayal, and injustice at some point in our lives. It’s a universal experience that can manifest in various forms, from unkind words to unforgivable actions. The question we must grapple with is how to move forward after experiencing such pain. The answer, as we will explore in this article, lies in the power of forgiveness.
The Unavoidable Wounds of Life
Before delving into why forgiveness is so crucial, it’s essential to acknowledge the inevitability of getting hurt. In our journey through life, we will encounter people who may harm us in different ways – through words, actions, or omissions. These wounds can run deep, leaving scars on our hearts and souls. It’s a part of being human, and while we cannot control others’ behavior, we can control how we respond to it.
The Role of Forgiveness in Healing
Forgiveness is not just a noble act of kindness; it is a necessary component for our own healing and personal growth. Without forgiveness, we risk being permanently tied to the person who has hurt us and the event itself. Some might refer to this connection as “soul ties,” a bond that keeps us entangled in the pain and prevents us from moving forward. In this article, we will explore the practical aspects of forgiveness and why it is so important for our emotional and mental well-being.
One of the most critical aspects of forgiveness is understanding that it is a choice we make, independent of the actions or attitudes of the person who hurt us. You don’t have to wait for an apology or for the other person to express remorse. Forgiveness is a personal decision that rests entirely within your control. This realization is empowering, especially when the very act of being hurt can make you feel like you’ve lost control over your emotions and life.
Emotions vs. Forgiveness
It’s important to note that forgiveness is not reliant on your emotions. You do not need to feel charitable or warm-hearted toward the person who wronged you to forgive them. In fact, the choice to forgive often precedes the development of these positive feelings. Forgiveness begins with acknowledging the pain and choosing to release the offender from their actions. It doesn’t require you to feel a certain way; instead, it’s about taking an intentional step towards healing.
The Act of Forgiveness
When you choose to forgive, you’re acknowledging the hurt you’ve experienced. It’s not a form of denial, and it doesn’t imply that what happened was acceptable. It is, in essence, a declaration that the person hurt you, but you choose to release them from their wrongdoing. You cancel their “debt” to you, allowing yourself the opportunity to move forward unburdened by the past. While it’s natural for your feelings about the event and the person to evolve over time, even if they don’t, the choice to forgive remains a powerful and necessary step in your healing journey.
The Unchangeable Past
One of the fundamental reasons why forgiveness is crucial is the immutable nature of the past. Harmful words spoken and actions committed cannot be undone. Once a word leaves someone’s mouth, it carries a lasting impact. There is no way to retrieve it through the air or erase it from your memory. Similarly, once an action is taken, it cannot be reversed. We often wish we could make amends for the things we’ve done, but the truth is, there is no rewinding or undoing the past. The only viable option is to move forward.
The Power of Choosing Your Path
This is why forgiveness does not depend on the wrongdoer. Your forgiveness is not contingent on their ability to make things right because, in many cases, they simply cannot. Instead, it is a choice you make to not let their actions define you or your future. This is a pivotal realization, as it grants you the freedom to determine your path forward, regardless of the wrongs committed against you.
Freedom from Emotional Bondage
Choosing to forgive is not about pretending that what happened was acceptable or trying to make the pain disappear. It is an acknowledgment of the wrong done to you. It’s about taking control of your own emotions and refusing to let the past define your present and future. By choosing forgiveness, you unshackle yourself from the emotional bondage that holds you back.
Releasing the Weight of the Past
If you find yourself clinging to painful memories, if your heart still bears the scars of betrayal, abandonment, or mistreatment, forgiveness offers an opportunity for liberation. It all begins with your willingness to let go of the past. Letting go doesn’t mean trivializing your pain or pretending that the hurt never occurred. Instead, it’s an affirmation that a wrong has been committed, and despite that, you choose not to let it control your life.
In conclusion, forgiveness is a powerful and transformative choice that you make for your own well-being. It is not about condoning hurtful actions or forgetting the past, but rather about freeing yourself from the chains of pain and resentment. By choosing forgiveness, you take control of your emotions, your present, and your future.
It is a personal journey that can lead to healing, growth, and a brighter tomorrow. So, consider the memories and emotions you may be holding onto and recognize that forgiveness is your opportunity to regain the freedom and life that these wounds have taken from you.
Also read: The Dangers of Assuming Motives
About Dr. Hawkins:
The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.
Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.
He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.
In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.