Are you holding onto negative thoughts about someone or something that someone did?
Did someone do something bad to you that you can’t forgive? This might even have happened in the distant past but still makes you feel hurt and angry when you think about it?
The thing about holding onto that resentment, anger and hurt is that it’s about as useful as a chocolate teapot!
Firstly, the person you’re holding a grudge against probably won’t care. Secondly, it probably won’t make you feel better, in fact it’s bad for your mental, physical and emotional health so can actually leave you feeling worse. Finally, holding onto those negative feelings doesn’t solve the original problem.
So, what’s the point in making yourself feel bad by not forgiving the other person who probably doesn’t know or care about what they did?
I’m going to suggest an alternative response for you to try next time someone you know behaves like an arse!
Next time you feel anger towards someone, recognise that’s how you feel and choose to let it go. Choose forgiveness instead, re-framing your anger by trying to look behind what caused the other person to behave in a way that you don’t like. It’s a positive choice that will make a positive difference.
For instance, if someone forgot your birthday, maybe they’d just been told that they have a life-threatening disease or they had a death in the family or something equally serious. Maybe they just forgot because they have a lot on at work. Does the fact that they forgot your birthday mean that they don’t care about you? Probably not but even if it did, you can’t control them but you can control your own behaviour.
Even if it turns out that they just forgot, the act of taking a step back to look at things from a different perspective can make all the difference to how you react and, subsequently to how you feel.
Making the effort to forgive is worth it. A little bit of forgiveness can lead to:
Healthier relationships Improved mental health Less anxiety, stress and hostility Lower blood pressure Fewer symptoms of depression A stronger immune system Improved heart health Improved self-esteem