This biblical phrase has more depth than we realize. Psychologists have studied the mental effects of forgiveness on those who were suffering from depression and fear of death. When someone is able to forgive a person who has harmed them deeply, they can move on with their lives and also quickly forgive themselves for mistakes they have made. Self-forgiveness is probably the hardest thing to do.
No human being is perfect. We all make mistakes and it is humbling when someone forgives us easily and loves us despite our mistakes.
Forgiveness has its roots in religious practices and is indicative of those who have a spiritual lifestyle. Some say that forgiveness is not for the person who has harmed us, but for oneself. That concept is only partially true.
To recognize the other person’s suffering and feel deeply toward our own inner suffering for mistakes we have made, we feel authentic empathy. It does benefit both people to forgive, and many others along the way. Forgiveness opens the heart and has a ripple effect on all our relationships and community.
A simple way to forgive is by saying: “I wish you well,” when that event or person comes to mind. It all depends on how deep the wound is and if one is ready to say that phrase. However, in all cases, it is extremely healing and eventually dislodges the memories and ill feelings. It takes the edge off the resentment.
In AA, the 4th Step teaches us to apologize to our perpetrators. This sounds really crazy, right? It takes a lot to get to that point, but if the pain is deep enough, and we are willing to put the baggage down, it will set us free. Another tradition that teaches this is Ho’oponopono, which uses the mantra:” I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.” By reciting this mantra, you will release the negativity around the person or persons, the event, and resentment.
Does it mean that we have to keep someone toxic and harmful in our life? Not at all. It means that we are letting go of our own toxicity that has been created by holding on and allowing it to create a story for us that defines us.
Lastly, if two emotionally mature people can talk things through without involving others, and come to the conclusion that love is more important than hate or resentment, then a simple act of forgiveness is all that is needed.