One of the things that we can always be sure of in life is that somewhere along the line someone is going to hurt us and we are going to have to make a choice.
Of course it is so much easier to bear a grudge, to retaliate or seek revenge. We think that somehow we are making ourselves feel better and the guilty part feel worse, but vengeance is really getting old hat. Why not try a little forgiveness.
In a recent report compiled by the UN, which looks at psychological research centring on forgiveness it was found that doing so makes you feel happier, healthier and stronger. The study looked at the importance of forgiving within personal relationships, as well as between war torn nations.
So how do you forgive? One of the world’s experts on forgiveness is Frank Fincham of Florida State University. He believes the best way to go about forgiveness is to first think about the benefits instead of obsessing over how upset you feel. Think about things that you might have done wrong or contributed to the situation, after all nobody is perfect. Try to take yourself back to that situation and think about why the other person reacted in the way they did. Try and understand their reaction and think about you might have reacted if faced with the same situation. Ultimately forgiveness is a free choice but this analysis will help you to rationalise.
Fincham says, “Forgiving brings you peace and closure, but it takes time. It’s more accurate to say to someone, ‘I will try to forgive you.’ To say you’ll forgive and forget is a contradiction. You can forgive only when you remember.”