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Why Forgiveness Works

The Most Powerful F Word: Forgiveness

Today is International Forgiveness Day! Do you need to forgive anyone? We all know that sinking feeling of anger and resentment that creeps up when we least expect it. Whether your car got towed, your boyfriend ended things, or your parents constantly criticize your choices, you have two options of how to deal: you can make a scene, or you can breathe and forgive. And it's not as easy as it sounds; after all . . .

But it's worth it, and here's why.

Forgiveness Is Freedom
When we forgive, we are giving ourselves the chance to think new thoughts and perceive our experiences with a new consciousness. Everyone makes mistakes, and by forgiving, we allow those who have done us wrong a chance to redeem themselves. After we forgive, the relationship is fresh and new. We can look at things with an untainted perspective.

There Is No Future in the Past
Letting go of what happened before is crucial. Holding on to past hurts only limits your future potential. Yes, there are truly terrible things that happen that may seem unforgivable, but in order to move on, you've got to try to forgive. Otherwise, you're letting someone live rent-free in your head.

Holding a Grudge Hurts One Person
And that person is you. When we build up grudges, they live in our minds. Think about it. If you seek serious revenge on an ex-boyfriend and you spend hours plotting out different scenarios in your mind, is that hurting him? Not at all. It's only hurting you. Holding on to anger and resentment can have really serious psychological implications. But if you give yourself a chance to reflect and forgive, you'll be a far happier lady.

Wondering how to pull it off? Keep reading!

You've Got to Want It
If you really want to try to move on, that is. This is a tough one. You want to move on and be over and done with this whole thing, but you've got to forgive before you forget. Think about a time as a child when you were forced to apologize but didn't really mean what you said. You felt no transformative change. (Unless getting out of time-out can be deemed transformative.) But the same thought process lives here. When you're ready to truly forgive, you've got to really mean it and really have compassion for the other person. Otherwise, you'll remain stuck.

Recognize and Embrace Your True Feelings
What's even worse than holding a grudge is not acknowledging the anger or resentment you truly feel. But you've got to forgive before you forget. You may feel like you're simply above the person, experience, or relationship that caused you pain, but you're only human. Without the negative emotions, the good ones wouldn't feel as good.

Sometimes the Best Person You Can Forgive Is Yourself
Maybe you've been ruminating on an issue for days, weeks, or years. Half the battle may be forgiving yourself for your experience and the accepting way you processed your pain. Remember that it's all part of the process. There's no right or wrong way to handle your hurt.

Are you a forgiver, or do you struggle with this idea? Feel free to reach out and share your experiences with the "f word."

Image Sources: New Line Cinema and Shutterstock
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Angelica-Marden Angelica-Marden 4 years
Such great reminders for a Monday morning. I try and celebrate the good and forgive the bad for my own sake. If you intellectualize it too much you'll drive yourself crazy. It is all part of the process and it works.
doucettr doucettr 4 years
This post is really kismet. I just spent a wonderful weekend with perhaps the most influential person in my life who I love deeply but betrayed me horribly. I have spent years grappling with these feelings and the fact that no matter how much the times I think I want to move on and never think or see him ever again because I am so hurt, the reality of that really happening is ultimately not what I really want. Forgiveness is the hardest thing and yet something I hope I can, after all this time, finally find in my heart.
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