To err is human, but did you know that to forgive is good for your health? Even though we’ve all been hurt by someone before—friends, peers, parents, or significant others—forgiving those who wronged us can lessen anxiety and (opens in a new tab), reduce the symptoms of depression, lower blood pressure, and boost self-esteem. Make the decision to let go of resentment with these simple steps, and you’re well on your way to both physical and emotional well-being: Remember it’s a process. Forgiveness is an active engagement, and it takes emotional work to forge through. Make the commitment to yourself to stay with the process—and remind yourself that you deserve relief and comfort. Forgiveness, after all, is not about the other person. It’s about getting you to a (opens in a new tab).
- Reflect on the facts of the situation. In essence, (opens in a new tab) on what has happened, the role you played, and how the outcome has affected your life and state of mind. Try to recall what happened as objectively as possible.
- Accept these facts. Know that what’s done is done, and you cannot undo the past. The only remainder of the situation left in your control is how you manage your role in the aftermath. Do not stoop to revenge. Do not obsess over what you should have done before. Put it in a box in your mind and seal the lid.
- Say it out loud. When you are ready to let go of your hurt and bitterness, look in the mirror and tell your reflection that you forgive the person who offended you. It does not matter if you actually say it to the person so much as yourself. Their role in this circumstance is finished, even if they never apologize or you never confront them. You can only rely on yourself to make you (opens in a new tab) about it.
- Don’t be the victim. Even if you are, you have to remove yourself from that mindset to end the cycle of hurt. Know that people and circumstances shape the person you become not by what’s done to you, but how you react to them. Relish this control you have over your mind. You have the power to transform your thoughts, and to push the painful and bitter ones away. You have the choice to let your life be defined by your compassion and understanding rather than your hurt.
What has helped you move past a grudge before?