Forgiveness is the Greatest Gift: 15 Readers Share How They Moved Past Hurt and Anger

Forgiveness BELatina

Betrayal, aggression, and just plain rudeness: People can hurt us in a million ways, and forgiveness isn’t always easy. But forgiveness is one of the best gifts we can give to ourselves and to others. This Christmas Eve, consider taking stock of all the hurt you’ve endured before turning out the lights, putting those experiences to bed too, so that you can wake up to the gift of forgiveness on Christmas morning.

Whether you’ve been cheated on by a spouse, betrayed by a close friend, or badmouthed by a co-worker, most of us are faced with a variety of situations in which we feel wronged. We’ve all heard: “You need to forgive and forget.”  But is this truly how we feel? When someone really hurts you, do you still want to forgive that person? Forgiveness, like so many things in life, is easier said than done. There isn’t a single person on Earth who hasn’t suffered resentment after being wronged. It is natural to feel bad, to feel like holding on to the anger and hurt. 

Ultimately, forgiveness is especially challenging because it’s hard to let go of what’s happened. It can be really difficult to accept some things in life, and forgiving someone who has committed unacceptable behavior can be difficult when we are having trouble letting go of anger about the events and accepting what happened to us. Forgiveness isn’t about playing the martyr or victim. It’s not about being a doormat. In fact, it has absolutely nothing to do with the other person at all. Forgiveness is about one thing and one thing only: It’s about how you feel.

Have you ever heard of the old saying, “Being angry at someone is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die?” Well, a study from 2017 highlights the link between mind and body, suggesting that holding a grudge may not weigh only on your mind but also upon your physical person, even shortening your lifespan. The research states that the act of forgiveness can not only metaphorically lift a burden off your shoulders, but it can do so physically, as well.

So, to sum it up, forgiveness is good for your body, your relationships, and your place in the world. That’s reason enough to convince virtually anyone to do the work of letting go of anger and working on forgiveness. Read on for some great tips from readers on how to forgive yourself and others this Christmas — and why it’s worth it.

Do Not Keep Thinking of the Past
 

When you let go of it, you get over the anger/bitterness that you felt and it clears the path to forgiveness! The best thing is time! –Ashna Martinez

Stop Thinking and Just Do It

Open your heart and forgive. –Jazmin Urbina

Let Go

Understand this, whether you like it or not, over time, you will stop feeling the pain, so why hold on to something that’s going to away anyway? –Lisa M

Have Empathy

Remember, we are all doing the best we can at the time. –Dee R

Understanding

I just acknowledge that we are humans, so we are allowed to make mistakes. –Lizbeth C

Shift the Focus

Feel the pain and think of the thousands of others in the world who are also feeling the same pain, then send a loving-kindness message to everyone to be relieved of this suffering. –Nikki B

Get Some Zen

Meditate, meditate, and meditate some more until it’s gone! –Marisol R

Write It Out

Write a brutally honest, emotionally raw letter telling them how much they have hurt and angered you, then tear it up and burn it. As you watch the smoke rise, think about the fact that you are not that hurt and that anger. It is fleeting, just like everything else. As the smoke carrying your hurt and disappointment disappears into the air, you can let it go. –Renate W

Don’t Force It

If I don’t feel forgiving, I can at least not act on my anger. Eventually, forgiveness will come if you welcome it. –Julia R

Express It

I allow myself to feel again whatever I didn’t express “in the moment” when I was with them. Forgiveness always seems to follow those (usually) difficult emotions. –Cyn R

We’re All One

Remind yourself that they are not separate from you; they only appear that way. Then you will realize you are one, and it is yourself you are forgiving. –Julio A

Don’t Dwell

Just look to the future instead of focusing on what’s past… think of creating new good memories to wipe away old bad ones. –Lissy J

Learn From It

When it happens I often ask myself, “What strengths must I develop further from this?” Often the feeling of resentment just goes away, slowly but surely, because I wasn’t focusing on the person that wronged me, but the lesson that the event was trying to tell me. –Natassia C

We All Make Mistakes

Remind yourself of how much forgiveness would mean to you if it was your turn for a mistake! –Caroline S

Love

You remember why you love them. Love is about forgiveness.–-J Dias