Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned. -Buddha
Some who have sought out the secret to happiness believe that maybe there is no secret. It could be a conscious set of things we can do each day that will help us feel better, live longer, and be healthier. One of those things that we can do is to learn to forgive one another for the things we do consciously or unconsciously that can cause harm to others. There are many benefits to forgiveness alone, but the simple fact that it will help us be happier is enough to say it is a thing worth doing. Let’s look at some simple ways we can practice forgiveness.
First it is important to understand forgiveness is a gift that we give, both to the person that wronged us, and to ourselves. That may seem odd to read, forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves. To hold a grudge, anger or bitterness means that we are holding on to those negative, and painful emotions. But by consciously deciding to forgive, we free ourselves of that pain. It’s a gift.
Another thing to keep in mind is the other person’s point of view. How many times have any one of us been hurt by something a close friend says, only to find out they meant something totally different than what we heard. Simply by starting to understand what the other person was thinking and meant, we might be able to avoid bitterness and hurt to begin with. That means that communication is key when it comes to forgiving.
If it is possible, communicating with that person may be helpful. They simply may not know they hurt our feelings, or upset us. Having the time and place to say that may bring the closure that we need to end this feud. It may even make something powerful and beautiful out of this angry and hurtful episode. But it starts with talking first. It is ok to pick the time and way to communicate with them. It may be upsetting and anxiety provoking, but can go a long way to bringing us the peace of mind that we need.
We need to ask if holding onto these negative feelings is worth it. It may seem simple, and obvious, but ask is it worth the cost of how it feels, and how that’s impacting the way we act. Pain and hurt cost us as well. Is it worth it is a simple way to start the forgiveness process.
Happiness and health come from within to start. There are some simple things we can do, ways of being and living, that will have tremendous impact on our lives. The act of forgiveness will be one of the things that we can do that will help us all be a better community, as well as be happier and healthier.
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