Forgiveness Is a voluntary process of letting go of anger and feelings of retribution when someone has been wrong and offended you. It can have profound benefits on our mental, emotional, and physical health in the long term.
What Is Forgiveness Therapy?
Human beings are emotional creatures, and we always tend to keep negative feelings in memory rather than forgive and let go. Holding on to anger might have a profoundly negative effect on the human psyche, and it may even show up in a person’s physical and emotional well-being.
Forgiveness, as an act, means intentionally releasing oneself from those feelings of anger, retribution, vengeance, and other negative thoughts towards the offender. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you forget about the hurt and pain; rather, it means that you are willing to put yourself first and deal with it.
In learning to forgive, we derive the greatest benefit in emotional, mental, and physical healing. The idea of forgiveness therapy is to remove power from the offender and give it back to the person that has been hurt.
While healing may difficult to achieve on our own, a mental health counselor or therapist, who is empathetical and patient, can help us overcome such feelings. Talking to a therapist provides an outlet for what we feel deep inside and can help us overcome any such struggle and acquire strength.
What Are The Benefits Of Forgiveness?
Forgiveness doesn’t give a pass to the bad behavior of people, and neither does it imply that justice shouldn’t be served where a serious wrong has been committed. Forgiveness is more about making peace with yourself, making a move from a negative to a neutral to a positive emotional state over time.
Forgiveness is important to restore one’s inner peace; even if forgetting is difficult, one can still have a pleasant night’s rest knowing that a situation doesn’t control them anymore. In our state of unforgiveness, we often tend to lash out at others in anger or project our negativity to others who may not even be aware of our emotional state. In forgiving, we return to a state of normalcy and life balance.
In some cases, forgiveness has allowed for reconciliation; that is only possible where the offender has shown remorse and is willing to also account for their hurtful actions. Even if this doesn’t happen, it is still important to forgive and let the wrong and resentment go, for your peace of mind. Once you overcome such a negative situation, the likelihood is that all your other relationships will be healthier and happier.
Other benefits of forgiveness include lowering blood pressure and heart rate, especially if that anger translates to getting emotionally and physically worked up. It may also reduce the chances of depression and anxiety.
Research on forgiveness has brought the following facts to light:
- Forgiveness allows a balanced view of the offense and the offender; it doesn’t minimize or deny what was done to ourselves;
- For serious and aggravating offenses and in the event of abuse, there should be accountability as a moral consequence;
- Forgiveness may create room for the offender to own up to their mistakes, especially where trust was broken;
- Forgiveness allows the person to keep focused on the present and the future instead of dwelling on the past.
What Can Unforgiveness Lead To?
The biggest consequence of unforgiveness is a general deterioration in the mental, physical, and emotional states. Increased blood pressure and heart rates, lack of sleep, pain, fatigue, and sinking into a depressive pit may all result too. The individual is at a higher risk of falling into risky behaviors such as drug and alcohol abuse and self-harm in order to cope.
The person’s relationships generally deteriorate, and they might focus all their energy on dealing with anger and retribution, especially if with a feeling that the offender doesn’t care.
Is Forgiveness Too Hard? Seek The Services Of A Therapist
For some people, the trauma and hurt from offenses committed against them may be too hard to deal with by themselves, making it impossible to forgive. In this case, a qualified therapist will serve as a neutral and unbiased listening ear that can help manage the anger and ill feelings.
An experienced therapist will listen and help the individual identify any self-punishing behaviors as a result of unforgiveness in their past. A therapist will help the person to replace any feelings of bitterness, anger, and resentment with positive feelings such as compassion, gentleness, and loving oneself.
Finding The Right Therapist
Not everyone is comfortable sharing intimate life details of their past with a stranger. However, forgiveness with help from a therapist is usually a rewarding process and a journey. By the time actualization happens, and you have started to forgive and let go of those old feelings, your therapist will be more of a friend and someone you trust and can open up to frequently.
The right therapist will have a combination of the right cost, the right approach, and plenty of referrals and reviews. They will always show you that they have your best interest in mind. Ultimately, the objective is to feel comfortable with the therapist you have chosen.
You can find plenty more information on forgiveness therapy online and seek other free resources that you may need for mental health counseling.