Forgive and forget—as simple as it sounds, is not always easy to do. Throughout life, you will do people wrong and some will do the same towards you, one way or another. This is because it is part of being human to err and make mistakes or bad decisions. But as life goes on, so should we. Hence to carry on with the least amount of load, it is important to forgive and, in some instances, forget the mistakes done to us.
Beyond letting go and moving on, forgiveness is a process, which requires time and effort. It often starts with acceptance of the fact that the mistake has been made and there is no way to take it back. Afterwards, it will take some effort and time to be able to look beyond what a person did and try to understand why they did it. Despite its difficult and sometimes painful process, forgiving and forgetting helps ease the emotions and the mind. It helps a person let off a burden and live a more peaceful and harmonious life. Here are some benefits of forgiving and forgetting:
Not forgiving can mean holding on to all the negative emotions that someone’s actions caused. When someone does you wrong, you often feel anger, pain, sadness, disappointment and frustration. Choosing to not forgive means you hold these all in and keep them inside you to fester and grow into a bigger ball of negativity.
Holding grudges and allowing these negativities to blur your judgement can be unhealthy for your well-being and mental health. It can cause you stress and grief, which in turn, can even affect your physical health. Holding on to negative emotions puts you at a higher risk of developing health conditions, like severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Practicing forgiveness allows you to let go of all the negative feelings a person, or situation caused. It helps you foster healthier relationships, reduce stress and worries, and even minimize the chances of developing hypertension or high blood pressure. It can also improve your heart health and self-esteem. Letting go of negative emotions can allow you to focus on the good in others and live with less anguish and hostility against the world around you.
Forgiveness does not always look the same for every person or situation. Sometimes, forgiveness means mending relationships and going back to the way it once was. For others, it is just moving on with no grudges and not speaking to someone who was once your best friend.
Both forgiving and forgetting someone’s wrongdoing towards you can be difficult, but sometimes forgetting can take a little longer than forgiving. But rather than allowing a memory of a past mistake to haunt you, it is best to look at it as an opportunity to learn. Every experience in life comes with a lesson, no matter how good or bad an experience is. Hence it is always better to pick up the learnings, more than any other things it may have caused.
If someone said or did something to hurt you, you can also try to make them aware of what they did. Sometimes, people hurt others unknowingly and forgiving them without making them aware will only lead to them hurting more people. This way, you are not the only one that’s learning, but you’re helping others learn and improve as well.
Forgiveness can also mean learning to forgive yourself. It plays a vital role in healing and recovery, especially for those who are suffering from grief, trauma or even conditions such as addiction. Moreover, for serious cases of substance abuse disorder, it is important to seek expert help to help you get through the recovery process. There are clinics and facilities to help, such as a drug rehabilitation center in West Palm Beach, Florida, as well as other cities.
Forgiving Helps Forgetting
Forgiveness is an art and a process, but is also a choice. Unlike forgetting which is a brain process that is known to take time and effort, forgiveness can be subjective. Sometimes, it is just a matter of choice. It is however important to note that making that choice is not always easy. There are things that people say or do that can hurt deeper and can cause more damage to you. As such, you are not expected to decide to forgive someone in a split second. It is acceptable to also process your own emotions prior to coming up with a decision.
The act of forgiveness can influence the ability to forget. Being more forgiving and striving to be optimistic can help you let bad experiences pass. If you let go of negative emotions and ill thoughts, you can then choose to change your perspective about what happened, which could help the issue “lose its weight”. It brings you to a headspace where you can be more empathic and can better understand a person, which can therefore help you forgive and move on.
Forgive, Forget, and Move Forward
Grudges, anger and sadness are heavy emotions, and without forgiving, you are bound to carry them throughout your life. It will do nothing but hold you back from experiencing and enjoying all the positive emotions that you could have felt and treasured. Practice forgiveness in your daily life, and if possible let bad experiences just pass. Try to not dwell on them, but rather learn, whether it is you who did wrong or you’re the one who’s slighted. As the cliché goes, life is short, so best spend it with happiness, optimism, empathy, kindness and a forgiving heart.