Why Forgiveness?


It was almost 10 years later when one of our Intent staff writers realized she hadn’t dealt with a three year relationship that almost ended in marriage. Cliche? Maybe. But she had told herself it was over and that she needed to move on and that’s what she tried her best to do. But what does that look like in a real, tangible way? Almost a decade later, she was just learning of all the ways resentment, anger and grief were still impacting her physically, mentally and emotionally.

In the course of a lifetime, you will likely experience much more than just a relationship that doesn’t work out. Betrayal, disappointment and violence of all kinds may be part of your story and the idea of forgiveness or restoration seems painful and distant. So is it worth it? Is there something to offering forgiveness and focusing on gratitude?

  1. It’s bad for your health. We don’t always like to think there is a correlation between the mental and the physical but science shows us that it exists. Amongst many symptoms, hanging on to grudges and resentment can cause increased heart rates, increased stress levels which can also lead to increased cortisol, making it very hard to lose weight. How interested are you in allowing the past to continue damaging your future? Your resentment will show itself on your body if you’re not careful.
  2. You don’t want to bring the baggage into new relationships. Part of moving on means that you have an opportunity to move onto something new and healthy. Don’t neglect using time between relationships to really grieve, process and forgive because expecting your next relationship to clean up the previous mess is unfair. Take as much time as you need. A bad situation doesn’t have a time limit on when you should be ready to move on, so give yourself the time you need to feel safe and secure internally. Give yourself your best chance with a good thing by entering as your best self.
  3. It creates healthy mindset practices that will last beyond this situation. The practice of training your mind on gratitude and happiness is one that will always serve you well. You could be stuck on the waterwheel of a certain circumstance- maybe you’re always ending up in a bad relationship or in the same toxic battle with your family. Rather than repeating those cycles, take those tough opportunities to intentionally practice releasing your feelings in a healthy way, taking responsibility for what makes sense and moving on in a way that allows for new patterns.

Forgiveness doesn’t have to mean you put yourself in the line of fire again. It doesn’t mean ignoring legitimate wrong that was done to you. More, forgiveness is about disconnecting yourself from the cycle of trauma and pain you’re currently experiencing. Forgiveness is about not letting the remainder of your life be defined by negative event. It’s about always finding the hope to create the life you dream of and are proud to have. So what holds you back from forgiveness?

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