Forgiveness can heal! It is one of the most brutal things one tries and achieves. However, it feels like torture, especially when the person you want to forgive shows no remorse. It is very important to understand that true forgiveness cannot come without addressing the problem at its root. It backfires if you are forced to forgive, as that is the ideal way people believe helps you heal. Also, forgiveness is a process that helps you heal and is more about you than the other person.
How does forgiveness help you heal?
The actual process of forgiveness involves the hormone oxytocin, which is the “feel good” hormone that comes from taking care of yourself and feeling loved. When we work on ourselves, oxytocin is released in good amounts. Also, when we work on ourselves, we increase our self-esteem and self-love. In such a good internal space, where we have healed from our wounds and traumas, forgiveness comes as the next step to leave the past behind.
In other words, oxytocin calms anxiety triggers in the amygdala (part of the brain responsible for the “fight or flight” response). and forgiveness becomes easier.
Also read: How to train your brain for happiness: 7 quick tips
As a progression on the healing journey or the journey of rediscovering oneself, forgiveness acts as a way to improve our overall health: mental, emotional, and physical. Forgiveness marks the culmination of the healing process and promotes a longer and healthier life.
- Forgiveness as a trait of one’s personality, where one can forgive anything to anyone, can indicate low self-esteem. This can be presented as a way of being nice to others.
- It can be a genuine part of one’s personality, where a person can easily disassociate themselves from the blame game. In this case, it can be very advantageous on the path of self-healing.
- Forgiveness can also be situational, which would be for a particular person or a perceived offense.
There are some situations where people generally find it difficult to forgive, such as a betrayal of trust. In such cases, it helps if the forgiveness process is embarked on as a journey by both members of the particular relationship.
Practice forgiveness for the sake of your sanity
Although forgiveness can’t be forced or assumed as something to be done without completely meaning to, holding a grudge can significantly affect your mental and physical health. It’s like drinking something toxic and expecting the other person to suffer for it. Negative energy will affect only you and not the person it is directed at.
Forgiveness energizes the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps the immune system function smoothly and releases feel-good hormones. Taking charge of one’s life instead of living with a victim mentality helps to let go of bitterness and resentment. Forgiveness is a gift to yourself. It is the path to your mental and emotional freedom.
Also read: Positive Self-Talk: Stop Saying These Toxic Things To Yourself!
How to start your healing journey?
Some ways you can begin the journey of forgiveness is to allow yourself to face the trauma and to form and adhere to well-defined boundaries. It helps to realize that the forgiveness process can add to the pain a bit, until you face it and release it.
Give yourself time to allow full forgiveness to come when it does, rather than dwell on it.
Total healing and letting go happen when we completely forgive ourselves. Taking responsibility for what happened adds years to the actual moments of trauma. Looking back and judging ourselves for a previous incident doesn’t work. If you had known at the time what you know now in hindsight, things would have been different.
Take one step at a time and let forgiveness be part of your healing journey.