Imagine being a mother, whose only son was killed by a mass shooter. Imagine a young woman who has to live with disability because she was jokingly pushed into a shallow pool that damaged her spine. Imagine a young boy who was shot by a soldier which made him blind for life. Imagine a father, who lost his entire family because of a drunk driver.
Would you be able to forgive those who harmed you to such an extent? Forgiving those who hurt us does not mean that we are “okay” with what they did, we are excusing their actions. As a matter of fact, we can reframe what Forgiveness means, it’s not about those who hurt us instead it us about us and our state of emotional and entire wellbeing.
"Forgiveness means that we are willing to let go of our own pain.
“The weak can never forgive, forgiveness is the attribute of the strong”-Mahatma Gandhi
What makes forgiveness easier: There are three things to always keep in mind which will help us to forgive and fight for justice righteously and not with the intention of vengeance.
Separating the actor from the action.
Keeping in mind the imperfection of others.
Being aware about the ill effects of anger and resentment on yourself.
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I think, however, that forgiveness is one of those things that we have to deal with in order to move on to the next chapter of our lives. If we keep holding onto an old hurt, or carrying around a grudge, we are only hurting ourselves, really.
And it’s that kind of baggage that colors our perspectives on everything else that happens to us, affecting our lives in negative ways long after the original incident that caused the first pain.
Forgiving others is essential for spiritual growth. Your experience of someone who has hurt you, while painful, is now nothing more that a thought or feeling that you carry around. These thoughts of resentment, anger, and hatred represent slow, debilitating energies that will dis-empower you if you continue to let these thoughts occupy space in your head. If you could release them, you would know more peace.
ALEX LICKERMAN (AUTHOR OF THE UNDEFEATED MIND:ON THE SCIENCE OF CONSTUCTING AN INDESTRUCTIBLE SELF)
To my way of thinking, forgiveness involves recognizing that the person who harmed us is more than just the person who harmed us. He or she is in fact, whether we want to acknowledge it or not, a full-fledged human being whose full dimension isn't defined by their foolish decision to harm us in some way (as much as we may wish it were). At its core I believe forgiveness is an acknowledgment that a person who's harmed us still has the capacity for good.
Forgiving doesn't mean forgetting, nor does it mean that you've given the message that what someone did was okay. It just means that you've let go of the anger or guilt towards someone, or towards yourself. But that can be easier said than done. If forgiveness was easy, everyone would be doing it.
ELISHA GOLDSTEIN (CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST, SPEAKER AND AUTHOR)