Forgiveness is a very powerful source of happiness. We can hold onto grudges, and mistakes for far too long. They can poison our mind, our soul, and take away from the good things in our lives. When we fail to forgive, resentment can get the best of us.
When we talk about forgiveness in order to increase happiness, there are 3 categories:
1) Asking for forgiveness
2) Offering forgiveness
Asking for Forgiveness
There can be many reasons why we don’t ask for forgiveness. Maybe we have too much pride, or we feel that too much time has gone by. Maybe we worry that it won’t matter to the other person, or persons involved, or it would be a lost cause. Asking for forgiveness is never a sign of weakness.
Instead, it means that you want to release those negative feelings once and for all. You can ask for forgiveness in person or you can write a personal letter. A phone call can be nice too, but if you aren’t sure how the other party will respond it may be best not to.
You can always send them a letter and tell them you would like to talk and then they have the opportunity to contact you if they would like to. A phone call, or in person can put them on the spot and make it hard for them to come to terms with their emotions due to you contacting them.
With a letter it can give them some time to think about all of it, and to make the decision to listen to what you have to say. Make sure your request for forgiveness is genuine, and that it specifically states what you are apologizing for. You don’t have to assign blame, and you don’t have to get into the specifics of who was right or wrong.
Even if they don’t accept your apology, you will have the peace of mind that you extended the olive branch. You will be able to let go of the situation, and you will know that you did what you could to make things right. The happiness that it will give you is unbelievable because you will be able to let it go.
When it comes to offering forgiveness, try to be kind. Keep in mind how difficult it can be for someone to reach out to you. If you feel they are genuinely sorry for what happened, then let it go. You may have some questions that you would like them to answer. It is fine to ask, so that you can get some closure with the situation.
It isn’t always that instant that you will be able to offer forgiveness. It is fine to tell someone that you are no longer angry, but that you are hurt. Your emotions can shift before you can fully let go and forgive. You may find that you can no longer let the relationship go back to what it used to be, but that you have some respect for that person now.
One of the hardest things to do in terms of offering forgiveness so that you can be happy is to let go when there is no apology. We have to remember that people do things for a variety of reasons. Perceptions can play a huge role in what hurts us or makes us angry.
Sometimes, we get hurt in the crossfire of what someone else is going through. They may be struggling with addictions, mental health, or other issues that we aren’t fully aware of. Try to be compassionate, and to forgive when you can. This doesn’t mean they win, it just means you are no longer willing to keep replaying that scenario in your mind, and letting it get the best of you.
We can be our own hardest critics, and that means that we can sabotage our own happiness. You have to be forgiving with yourself. Let go of past mistakes, and move forward. Tell yourself that you did the best you could with the information you had at the time.
The fact that you are able to realize now that there was a better way to handle something means that you have grown. You aren’t making the same mistakes again, and again, and that you are now making positive changes in your life.
In life, if you keep looking in that rear view mirror, you will miss what is in front of you. Your past may have left some scars, but they only prove that you were stronger than what was trying to hold you back. That is certainly something to smile about!
Sometimes, the issues that have occurred are just too great for us to work out on our own. If you can’t forgive, you aren’t alone and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. Give it time to work through emotions, and to see a better side of things. Talking to a counselor can be a wonderful way to work through unresolved feelings.
It can aid in the healing process, so that you can move on, and so that you can feel happier. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you no longer feel hurt or anger. It simply means you are in control over those feelings, and you are empowered by your dedications to be happy in spite of what has occurred in the past.