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That’s just the benefits for people around you, too. Once you learn to release anger instead of storing it up, you’re going to feel a lot better. Much more content, you’ll understand other people more, and you’ll have better self-esteem for one huge important reason. If you’re struggling to forgive others, you’re probably pretty hard on yourself as well. Learning to accept that we all make mistakes and do stupid stuff is essential when it comes to dealing with failure and rejection, and it can help safeguard you from sliding into depression when life isn’t going so great.
Unconditional Versus Conditional Forgiveness
If your forgiveness hinges on the other person prostrating themselves, putting their dignity to one side, and graphically apologising, you’re going to be stewing in your own rage for a long time. The vast majority of people despise admitting when they’re wrong, especially in a dramatic situation. People would rather just move on and accept the tension rather than confront it.
That’s why you need to make a conscious decision to unconditionally forgive. They don’t even have to admit they’re wrongdoing, their opinion no longer matters. It might seem weaker, sitting back and forgiving the other person, but what you’re really doing is wrestling back control of the situation, in the only way you can, while still maintaining your relationship with them. Remember, by forgiving them, you’re not doing them a favour, you’re doing yourself one.
But How Do You Do It?
It’s true, letting go of that deep simmering anger can be nearly impossible, and even take years. It’s similar to grief in that way. Dealt with right, it’ll run its course and you’ll feel better, but if you go about it in an unhealthy way, refusing to confront core issues for instance, you’ll drag it out and feel worse for longer.
At the core, forgiveness is about simultaneously accepting the incident in its entirety, what happened, what they did, what you did, how it’s affected you, and accepting that we’re all flawed humans, with a million different motivations and issues.
If you can accept those concepts, and put them at the centre of your thinking, you’ll get over your anger, and be on decent terms with the person again quickly. Remember, as I said earlier, it’s never about making the other person feel better, or forgetting the incident, it about helping you get past it, and deal it with it.
The other thing worth mentioning is that if you’re dealing with a serious incident or issue in a relationship, it’s important to stay strong, and stay on top of your life. Don’t let everything spiral, eat well, go to the gym, stay on top of things at work. It’s even been proven to be bad for you chemically, don’t let it take over your life.
Don’t let things like resentment pile up on top of you till you’ve no choice but to spend a week feeling depressed, eating pizza and watching Friends reruns. Harbouring resentment is incredibly unhealthy, you need to find a way of dealing with it that works for you.
By Liam Wells