For Global Forgiveness Day, why not Give Yourself the Gift of Forgiveness

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Did you know that July 7th is recognized as Global Forgiveness Day. Global Forgiveness Day and other similar forgiveness days encourage forgiveness as part of an element of personal health, personal growth and happiness. This is a new event or holiday for me however, I like the idea.About a year ago I wrote an article titled WILL YOU JOIN ME IN LOVING OUR ENEMIES? where I spoke a lot about practicing forgiveness and how this practice has kind of changed my life for the better.

Since yesterday was Global Forgiveness Day I thought maybe it would be a good idea to dig back into forgiveness and see where things go or if I can help you find new ways to look at your life and how you live it. So here we go…

When someone has wronged you, forgiveness may be the last thing on your mind. You may be convinced they deserve all the anger and hostility you can muster. However, forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself. Does your anger harm the other person? In most cases, the other person just stays away.

Holding a grudge is like punching yourself in the face and expecting the other person to say, “Ouch.” In all honesty, I was the king at holding grudges. I’ve had to work on this a lot to be able to change my own personal beliefs and feelings on what serves me and what doesn’t and well, punching myself in the face hoping to hurt the other person was just silly. Right?

Forgiveness is the healthy and logical choice for several reasons:

1. Living in the past steals your present and taints your future

don't get hung up living in the past and ruminating over something someone else did

A great future requires an attentive present. That’s not possible if you’re living in the past. Life is happening right now in this moment. Every moment spent in the past is lost forever. This is why I teach so much based on living in the present moment through meditation or other strategies. Reclaim your life by forgiving and moving on.

2. Failing to forgive creates misery

Does failing to forgive cause misery?

Creating and maintaining negative thoughts doesn’t feel good. Pleasant thoughts support a pleasant mood. By refusing to forgive the person that wronged you, you’re harming yourself. I believe this is the sort of thing that takes years off your life.

3. You'll be stronger

September 2021 Self-Care - what are you good at?

Forgiveness can be challenging! Staying angry is easy in a certain way. Show yourself just how strong you are. Take a deep breath and forgive. It becomes easier with time. Honestly, as with any skillset it becomes easier with practice. In society we have sometimes misinformed ideas on strengths and weaknesses and this certainly is one of them in my opinion. The stronger person though is the one willing to do the hard work.

* As an added bonus, the more forgiving you are, the more others are willing to forgive you!

4. The past cannot be changed, but your attitude can

What is the purpose of your anger? If you stay angry for the next ten years, what have you accomplished? Nothing you do today can change what happened yesterday. Change your attitude as quickly as possible and smile again. 

It seems simple or even silly to think that changing your thoughts can change your life, but it is true and honestly, that is also the name of one of my favorite books.

5. There's a Good Chance These People Will be back in Your Life In The Future

People may show back up in your life. Be a decent person.

Whether you forgive them or not, they’re sure to pop back into your life in the future. In most cases, they’ll act as if nothing ever happened. However, your resentment will make you feel bad all over again if you’re still holding a grudge. Beyond that it will certainly taint any engagement you have with them moving forward.

  • The sooner you forgive, the sooner you can put the matter to bed.

6. All humans make mistakes

Everybody makes mistakes. Forgive them. Have grace. who dropped the ice cream cone? Does it matter? Let's get another one.

We’ve all done or said things we later regret. You can’t expect to be forgiven if you’re unwilling to forgive. Living a perfect life and making perfect choices isn’t possible. Mistakes happen.

I like to think about something Brené Brown shared – people are doing the best they can with what they have at this moment. Obviously I am paraphrasing her thoughts, but I can say when I realize that people make mistakes not intentionally but often times based on wanting to do their best, sometimes it is easier pre-forgive those who wrong us in some way or act in ways we may not like.

7. Some say Forgiveness may be the best form of revenge

If someone upset you, it’s possible it was intentional. While you might feel the need to strike back, forgiveness is the best policy. Show them you’re enjoying bigger and better things. Living a happy life is the best revenge!

Now I am not one, at least at this stage of my life to promote revenge. I believe revenge as a practice is as unhealthy as holding grudges. I will say however, if you are living your best life and thriving revenge per se doesn’t really serve you. That said… if you are able to just let negative things roll off your back and move forward in a positive and truly happy way, it will be a hit to some who are not living a life that allows this to be an easy task. Again though, I always believe it’s more important to focus on your life than compare yourself to others or care what others think too much.

8. Your health will improve

forgiving others helps build a healthy community and good for your own health

Happiness and peacefulness undoubtedly support good health and longevity. Live a long and wonderful life. Be forgiving. The Mayo Clinic states that 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
WOW!! Who doesn’t want these things in their life? Our health is most important. Take care of yourself, my friends. What if this was one step to building the life of your dreams?

9. Forgiveness can be fast

forgiveness can be fast

Time may heal all wounds, but it can take a long time. Forgiveness is instantaneous. There’s no faster way to enhance your mood than the simple act of forgiveness. Forgiveness is fast, effective, and free. Take advantage of it.

I will say that although forgiveness can be instantaneous, it might take and practice to master the instantaneous skill. It really is a mindset thing and can be amazing when you get this mindset dialed in.

On some levels, forgiveness is self-serving. It’s something you do for yourself, because the alternative is harmful to your health, happiness, and future. Be good to yourself. The fact that you’re letting the other person off the hook is secondary. Forgiveness is necessary. Forgetting is optional, depending on the situation.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.” Forgiveness requires real strength. The fastest way to heal any transgression against you is forgiveness. Remember that forgiveness doesn’t always mean that you give the other person a second chance. It means that you’re not willing to suffer any longer.

Another way to set yourself on the road to a positive mindset making forgiveness easier is building a consistent gratitude practice. If you’d like some help in this area, check out the Grateful Living: 5-Day Gratitude Challenge.

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