What It Means to Be Forgiving?

Medically Reviewed on 2/24/2022
What It Means to Be Forgiving?
Forgiveness means deliberately letting go of old grudges or lingering hatred and choosing to see the person who wronged you over the crime.

Forgiveness is described as deliberately letting go of old grudges or lingering hatred toward a person or people who have wronged you. However, although you may be fairly forgiving toward others, you may be much harsher on yourself.

Everyone makes mistakes, but understanding how to learn from them, let go, move on, and forgive oneself is critical for mental health and well-being.

  • Forgiveness has enormous power that would definitely save a lot of relationships. 
  • The first hurdle to overcome in the course of forgiving is within yourself. You must choose to let go of the crime and your desire to hurt the wrongdoer. You must choose to see the person over the crime.
  • The more serious the offense, the more difficult it can be to let go, yet the less you dwell on the crime and feed your rage, the simpler it becomes.

Recognizing forgiveness as a choice to let go is critical because we frequently mix forgiveness with emotions. When this happens, forgiveness ebbs and goes with our emotions.

When we aren't angry, we believe we have forgiven, but when anger returns, it appears that we are back to square one. Just when we believe we've put a problem to bed for good, it resurfaces. Although forgiveness influences and can relieve our emotions, it is much more than that.

Why should you forgive?

The phrases “not holding a grudge” or “being a bigger person” may sound simple, but it is well-known that forgiving can be difficult.

  • Forgiving someone implies letting go of your rage and moral high ground.
  • Moreover, it may be challenging because you may have to analyze how you contributed to the problem.
  • Although it is tempting to believe that you are always in the right when it comes to arguments, there are usually two sides to every story.

Forgiveness is not just about keeping your relationship harmonious, but it is about being good to yourself.

If you are not careful, rage can eat away at you and even alter your future attitude toward relationships, making you feel protective or untrusting. It can make you fall into toxic relationship patterns and give you abandonment issues.

Does forgiveness improve your overall health?

According to research, forgiveness is associated with a positive mental state and well-being related to decreased anxiety, depression, anger, and major psychiatric disorders, as well as fewer physical health symptoms and lower death rates.

A book titled Forgiveness and Health described the physical and mental benefits of forgiveness. Toussaint and Worthington, editors of the book, suggested that stress alleviation is the most definite primary reason associated with forgiveness and well-being.

  • Enright believed that getting rid of toxic anger, which is deep and long-lasting, will relax your muscles, slow your breathing, and make you less anxious.
  • This makes you feel more energetic and strengthens your immune system. 
  • Moreover, he stated that forgiving someone who put you through pain will alter your self-perception and build self-esteem.

A meta-analysis from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2009) states that anger and hatred have been associated with an increased risk of heart disease and poorer results for people who already have heart disease.


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7 reasons why you should forgive but not forget

We have all heard the saying, “You must forgive and forget.” In philosophy, forgiveness and forgetting are wonderful, but in practice, they are challenging.

Here are seven reasons why it is critical to forgive but not forget:

  1. Forgiveness is essential for your emotional well-being: When you choose to hold on to your anger, you choose to harbor all the resentment and hatred that their acts have generated. You will be impatient, irritable, unfocused, and even physically ill. Forgiveness is an issue of the heart, not justice. You will be able to let go of toxic emotions within you if you forgive the one who wronged you.
  2. You will learn from your mistakes: What happens to you is just a lesson to remember and move on. This could imply moving on with or without the individual who has harmed us. Even in the event of a disaster, you may learn about yourself, what triggers your emotions, where you may have sensitivities, and how you handle the situation being harmed by someone you care about. You will be prepared for future interactions and inevitable conflicts that will arise because of this new knowledge.
  3. Forgiveness enriches your relationships: All relationships can be healed, deepened, and thrived because of what happened in the past. Your dedication to a successful relationship is strengthened by the act of forgiving. You grow more devoted to avoiding future controversial and harmful fights.
  4. You will be able to protect yourself from being a victim of a similar situation: It is not acceptable to concentrate on or review what has happened constantly, but you must remember it such that you will be able to prevent something like that to happen again. You may choose to forgive someone and move on with them, and developing a good relationship with the one who hurt you is the healthiest thing you could ever do. However, it is important to protect yourself from being mistreated again. Hence, it is more important to learn from your mistakes to achieve a better situation in the future.
  5. You deserve to forgive yourself: According to Hallett, your unwillingness to forgive others can arise from your reluctance to forgive yourself. Rejection for others can lead to a lack of acceptance for oneself. Remember, everyone deserves to be forgiven.
  6. Forgiveness strengthens you: Forgiveness is a quality of the strong; only a strong person can confront suffering and forgive it. The weak are incapable of forgiving. Your ability to forgive does not depend on what the other person did to you. You are the only one who has authority over your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and the only one who can cause a shift.
  7. Forgiveness does not free them of their actions: Forgiveness neither implies that what happened was acceptable nor implies that the person should be allowed to remain in your life. Your limits are still important, and grudges can be part of the forgiveness process.

Forgiveness simply implies that you've accepted the hurt and are willing to let it go.

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Medically Reviewed on 2/24/2022
Image Source: iStock Images

Why Forgiving Others Is the Best Thing You Can Do—for Yourself: https://www.happify.com/hd/forgiving-others-is-the-best-thing-you-can-do-for-yourself/

What It Means to Forgive and Why the Way We Define Forgiveness Matters: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10781919.2011.587365

Experts Reveal What It Really Means To Forgive & Forget, & It's Honestly Life-Changing: https://www.elitedaily.com/p/what-does-it-mean-to-forgive-forget-heres-what-experts-have-to-say-16968838