We all make mistakes. Sometimes we need to give forgiveness. Sometimes we need to receive forgiveness.
Holding on to grudges because of perceived wrongs can make us sick mentally or physically. At times, hurt is part of life. A parent may criticize us. A partner may cheat. That co-worker might steal your best project idea. We have no real control over the behavior of other people. However, we do have control over our reactions.
It is easy to hold a grudge. Some people are naturally more grudge-holding than others. We also feel more anger and resentment when we love or trust the person who betrays us. To reach a state of forgiveness you may have to work at it.
Real forgiveness is letting go of the resentment and need for revenge against another person.
You might always remember the hurtful action, but forgiveness releases you from being under someone else’s control. It is not an excuse for the betrayal. Forgiveness is the path to more peace, stability, and joy in life.
Journaling is a great way to develop forgiveness for ourselves and those around us. You can write a letter to the person in your journal. In the letter, you tell it like it is. Explain very clearly what hurt you and how you feel about it. Vent everything you want to receive to feel better. Get it off your chest. If you can communicate with the person who betrayed you, the letter can be talking points to resolve the conflict.
If you are the one who needs to receive forgiveness, you can write down your thoughts and feelings about what you did and why. When you write, explain all the messy details of your actions. No one will see it. You can come back to the journal as often as you need to. Hopefully, one day you can go to the person you offended and give a genuine apology. However, be mindful, that just because you give an apology, the other person may not “hear it” or accept it. But you will have done your best to reconcile.
Use this week’s journal prompt to reflect on the need to let go of grudges. In life, there are misunderstandings— large and small.
Prompt #108: In your opinion, how would forgiveness change world politics?
NEXT STEPS: Subscribe. Check out last week’s blog post on self-comparison.