Why Forgiving Others Is the Best Thing You Can Do—for YourselfNone By Jessica Cassity
Happy people are more forgiving than unhappy people, according to a recent study in the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology. But, does inner positivity help a person move on, or does letting go increase positivity? The answer may be “both”: Whether you start out happy or not, forgiving someone for a past transgression can make you feel better.
The mechanism is fairly simple. “Forgiveness is a process over time that includes letting go of negative emotions, thoughts, and behaviors, and replacing those with positive thoughts, emotions, and behaviors toward the offender,” says Ann Christine Recine, DNP, a nurse practitioner who studies forgiveness and works with patients on the practice.
However, moving forward doesn't mean letting someone off the hook or minimizing a wrong. “Forgiveness is not releasing the offender for legal obligations,” says Recine. “It's not condoning or excusing, which implies there’s a justification. It’s not forgetting or refusing to remember the event. It’s not reconciling, which implies there’s restored trust and contact. And it’s not pretending that everything is fine.”
In fact, you may never say the words “I forgive you” out loud. Instead, forgiveness is an internal process, something you do to help come to terms with a past experience and end your suffering, pain, anger, and resentment around the event. You simply decide to stop focusing on blame and instead move forward in a more positive direction.
It's a gift you give to yourself.
Of course, forgiving someone who's really hurt you is harder than it sounds. Knowing the health benefits can help. When you forgive, those nagging, n