So many people carry a grudge or the memory of a painful encounter with another person that they have a difficult time enjoying life or focusing on more important things. Just about every counselor who talks with people in this situation urges the individual to let go of the past and, if possible, forgive the other person involved.
People who feel this way feel they are right, that they are justified in feeling the way they do. If this individual has been hurt by someone else there is one good way to put it behind and start on the road to the rest of life. Counselors and good friends will emphasize that forgiveness is a huge first step.
People will try to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs, may try exercise or relaxation techniques such as meditation and still have that incident nagging at them every day. Only when they actually say the words, “I forgive you” will the incident start to fade into the past.
Individuals who have even tried to move to another place, even another country, find that the ghosts of the past follow them. In some cases, the wrongs that have been done can even separate a family for years. But forgiveness can remove this weight and allow the people involved not only to move on but to focus on new ideas and new interests. We can become better people because of the simple act of forgiving someone.
One powerful piece of advice that shows up in almost every self-improvement book, tape or video – if you truly believe something, you can make it happen, if you can believe, you can achieve. This is certainly true with the act of forgiveness, as counselors and psychologists often stay. If a person who has been wronged can imagine how good life would be without that nagging hurt or doubt, then the thought can become action, with positive results.
The act of forgiveness injects a positive energy into the human beings involved. This is a universal truth that applies to each and every individual, no matter what the situation or how grievous the hurt. It all depends on how willing you are to approach the person and make the simple but powerful statement of forgiveness.
Experts in this field make the point that saying “I forgive you” does not mean what the other person did was OK. What it means is that the person saying it is acting in their own best interest, releasing something that prevents them from being the best person they can be. One counselors makes the comparison to a track athlete running while carrying what seems to be just a small weight. But even a couple of extra pounds slows this runner enough that he or she finishes the race behind several others.
Someone who is carrying the weight of not being able to forgive will not be able to perform his or her professional tasks as well as possible. Hobbies and relaxation are much more difficult or even impossible when the weight of some past wrong holds us back.