Why forgiveness is important for your mental health

Why forgiveness is important for your mental health

Nelson Mandela, who was imprisoned for 27 years by the South African government, said:

“As I walked out the door toward my freedom I knew that if I don’t leave all the anger, hatred and bitterness behind, I would still be in prison.”

Since you are reading this blog post, forgiveness is probably something close to your heart. Take a moment to reflect on his words then.

Think of a situation when something hurtful happened to you. How did you feel? Were you angry and upset? Did you feel heartbroken? Observe these emotions without judging them. They are neither good nor bad. They just are. Acknowledge them as they are.

Now think about why forgiveness is important? What benefits would forgiveness bring into your life? How would it influence your mental health? Write down your answers and realise how many blessings forgiveness brings.

We’ve all been in these places of hurt and heartbreak. Maybe a friend betrayed you by revealing something that was confidential, or perhaps your partner said something that you cannot unhear. Forgiveness is not about forgetting what happened. Neither is it about pretending that it didn’t happen.

What is forgiveness and why is it important?

Forgiveness is simply a conscious decision to let negative emotions go. Holding on to grudges and resentment hurts only you, not the other person. It is like a poison going through your mind and your body. It can completely ruin your mental health and well-being. Once you realise this, it will be easier for you to decide to let go of that old baggage and travel through life lightly.

How do I forgive myself and others?

Forgiveness is a process. It is a healing journey that takes us back to our memories and makes us revisit those events that cause suffering in our life and/or in the lives of others. This inward journey is necessary if you want to take good care of your mental health.

The deepest kind of forgiveness makes us take full responsibility for our part in whatever happened. It takes courage to do so, but it very much worth it.

Here are a few tips that you might find useful to embark on the journey towards letting go:

1. Realise the damage that resentment and anger create in your life.

When we hold onto grudges and cultivate resentment in our hearts, we become more and more bitter and negative. We are so entangled in the past that we miss the present moment.

2. Take responsibility

Acknowledge your role in that past event that created so much suffering in your life. There is something truly magical in taking responsibility for ourselves. Once we stop playing the role of victim, we regain control over this situation and sometimes over our life in general.

3. Be compassionate

Think of the person who hurt you with compassion. We are all human beings who sometimes get lost somewhere on the way among many paths of “right” and “wrong”.

We all see the world through the filters of our limiting beliefs. When someone hurts you, they just try to fulfil some of their needs. The same is true for you.

We are all imperfect but these imperfections make us all humane. Realising this makes it a bit easier to find more compassion in your heart towards yourself and others.

4. Practice Ho’oponopono mantra.

The wisdom and healing that this ancient Hawaiian practice brings are invaluable.

It helped me a lot when I needed to awaken forgiveness in my heart. Forgiveness is not a quick process though so it does take a lot of consistency and commitment.

There are a lot of articles and videos about Ho’oponopono practice. I encourage you to research it and try it out when you feel stuck in the baggage of the past.

The mantra focuses on you and forgiving yourself as you are the only creator of your life. It is a simple and transformative tool when you need to give yourself (and others) the gift of forgiveness. The mantra goes like this:

I am sorry.

Please forgive me.

I love you.

Thank you.

The order of these sentences may slightly differ when you check different resources teaching this mantra but the healing stays the same.

No matter what old wounds still need to be healed in your life, you are the only person who can make them heal. It is your choice whether you will let the past control your present or whether you will choose to heal whatever needs healing and move on.

You can read more about letting go of resentment here.

Louise L. Hay, an American author and personal development teacher, used to say that we have so much love in our hearts that we could heal the whole Planet. You can listen to her speaking about love here.

Use that love to let go of emotions that don’t serve you well. Once you do that, you will feel so incredibly free that life will look like an exciting and joyful adventure.

In case you practised forgiveness and you still can’t move on with your life, feel free to message me and we will see how I can help you.

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