We all have been hurt or disappointed with people around us at some point in our lives, be it our friends, family, or colleagues. Maybe a friend violated our boundaries, or your partner said something mean to you. Such incidents may take a toll on our emotional and psychological well-being which is why forgiveness plays a major role in our lives.Forgiveness is a voluntary act wherein a person decides to let go of grudges and feelings of anger, bitterness, resentment, and other unpleasant emotions towards others. This does not mean that you have to excuse or forget what happened or even make amends with someone who hurt you, it means that you are willing to accept what happened in the past and want to move forward in life instead of dwelling and mulling over what happened. Forgiveness is not a sign of weakness, but that of courage. This is because forgiveness involves a lot of inner self-work, reflection, empathy, and compassion for self as well as others.Forgiving someone can be a liberating and empowering experience. You get to decide if and when to forgive someone, whenever you are ready and decide to take further action on your terms. Forgiveness gives us a sense of inner peace, calm, and freedom which is beneficial for us. When you forgive someone, you do it for yourself and not others. Since through forgiveness, you are processing and letting go of your emotional pain, it benefits you first and maybe even more than the other party. Not forgiving someone will also have you pay the price for it. So why not do this for your good health and wellbeing ?!

How to be able to forgive:

 Sit with your own emotions and reflect
Feel your feelings instead of suppressing them and think about the impact the incident has made on you. Journaling can be of huge help in this process. Validate your own emotions
It’s natural to feel hurt if you have been wronged by someone. Don’t downplay your emotions and acknowledge them as they are. Empathize with yourself as well as the other person
Accept your emotional pain as well as try and understand the perspective of the other person asking for forgiveness. This can help you make sense of why what happened the way it did and give you more clarity to understand, accept and take further action if and when needed. Reach out to your support system
This process can be very overwhelming and painful and so it might be helpful to have a few friends or anyone you trust to provide you with comfort and emotional support while you navigate your way through your thoughts and feelings. While you’re forgiving them, also forgive yourself
You will have to make a conscious decision to let go of painful feelings and forgive another person for causing you distress or hurt. Sometimes, some incidents or actions of others can leave us feeling like we were at fault or were too naive. So forgive ourselves for not knowing better. You did the best with the knowledge you had then. Take personal responsibility and accountability and learn from your own mistakes. Decide what action you wish to take after forgiving someone
Even after you forgive someone, you do not necessarily have to stay and make the relationship work, or pretend like nothing ever happened. It’s your decision if you want to stay in touch or cut off all ties or anything in between.Forgiveness is a process that is not always easy, especially if you are still bearing the consequences of the actions that hurt you. It is important to remember that there is no rush or urgency for it. Take your own time to reflect and heal.The act of forgiveness has been found to lower psychological distress in individuals by reducing levels of stress and acts as a buffer against substance abuse, depression, and anxiety. It can also improve mood by giving way to feelings of happiness, hopefulness, and optimism. Apart from this, it also improves immune system functioning (due to lowered stress levels), and sleep-related problems can also be reduced.Not just that, it has a huge impact on your physical health as it helps reduce the risk of cardiac problems, maintains healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and helps reduce aches and pains.Forgiving someone is not always easy and it’s easy to be stuck with unpleasant emotions instead of making the effort to try and forgive. If you are struggling with letting go and moving on, you can always seek help from a mental health professional who can help you detangle your thoughts, feelings, and emotions and help you through this process.