How to be more forgiving

Photo by Ric Rodrigues on

Forgiveness is the opposite of revenge. It is the willingness to let go of bitterness and ill will. A person who forgives does not hold any grudge at heart. He or she does not feel malice (a person who feels malice feels a need to see others suffer). It is human nature to be angry and bitter when deprived of their psychological and physiological needs. While some ways of depriving a person of their psychological needs are by depreciating, antagonizing, disrespecting, abusing, rejecting, ostracizing, or ridiculing them, some ways of depriving them of their physiological needs include stealing from them, cheating them, attacking them, etc. All these are bound to make one bitter and vengeful. 

Resentment is a perfectly natural human feeling. This is because our needs have been violated, and we have been subjected to suffering because of such violation. Nobody wants to suffer; suffering is man’s worst fear in life. It is only natural that we want our offenders to suffer just as they make us suffer, or worse, suffer much more for having made us unhappy. However, there is hardly any benefit in wanting a person to suffer simply because they are responsible for some of our suffering. Perhaps, we feel much better that justice has been served, by seeing our offenders suffer. Still, by so doing, we are nothing more than men with embittered souls.   

Therefore, what is the value of forgiveness? Why should we forgive our offenders?

Forgiveness is self-liberating

Bitterness is weighty, and until you let it go, you will always bear a great weight upon your soul. If you truly want to experience inner peace, then you must learn the act of forgiveness. This is possible if you come to accept that your offender may have acted ignorantly or misguidedly. An offender who acts ignorantly needs enlightenment and experience, while an offender who acts misguidedly needs prudence. Your offender’s action is probably myopic, self-destructive, and a show of grim heart. Therefore, this should trigger more pity than vengeance towards those who have wronged you.

Forgiveness helps you concentrate

If you have important goals you want to accomplish, then you need a clear, focused mind to do so. Holding a grudge will deter you from focusing effectively on your goals. For the sake of your goals, which you work towards accomplishing, you may consider all offenses against you as trivial (of little importance). When you are able to look over every offense against you (which are petty and largely unimportant), you are better able to concentrate on the most important aspect of your life- the accomplishment of your life goals. 

Forgiveness is essential

Civility is the polite treatment of the general human race; everyone naturally merits it. A civil person is polite. By politeness, he or she has a courteous approach towards treating others, using such words as thank you, sorry, excuse me, please, I am grateful, I take the blame, take care, and God bless you. Politeness also reflects itself in acts, not only words. As people carry on within their hearts, bitterness, their respect for humanity gradually diminishes, and courtesy suffers. When courtesy suffers, people become antagonistic towards one another; antagonism creates conflict, strife, and discord, which is lose/lose for everyone. Murder, rape, abuse, hatred, and violence are born out of lack of forgiveness. Therefore forgiveness is essential.