There is freedom in learning to forgive and let go

When someone you care about hurts you, you can hold on to anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge. The alternative is to embrace forgiveness and move forward.

Who hasn’t been hurt by the actions or words of another person? Perhaps a colleague sabotaged a project. Your parent constantly criticised you when you were growing up. Your partner had an affair or maybe you had a traumatic experience, such as being physically or emotionally abused by someone close to you. These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger and bitterness or even vengeance. What we sometimes fail to realise is that holding on to those grudges and failing to forgive only makes you a prisoner of pain. Sometimes people have been wronged and they are bitter. They may be patiently waiting for an apology from the other person, but truth be told, sometimes we may never get that sorry in this lifetime. It may be time for you to accept that and forgive, forget and move on.

If you don’t practice forgiveness, you might be the one who pays most dearly. By embracing forgiveness, you can also embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy. Consider how forgiveness can lead you down the path of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

Prior to the social media craze, when people wronged each other, they would sit and talk things out and seek counsel. However nowadays it’s commonplace to ‘go live’ on social media and tell the whole world what has happened. This then makes the forgiveness process even harder. It is crucial to think through things and not make decisions when upset or emotional. You need to give yourself time to calm down, contact the person who hurt or upset you. In some cases you may require a third party to broker peace. However, if all effort fails, then forgive and move on.

I know someone reading this right now is saying to themselves, ‘it’s easier said than done’, but I challenge you to TRY IT.

What Is Forgiveness?
Forgiveness means different things to different people. Generally, it involves a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. Psychologists broadly define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they deserve your forgiveness.

Just as important as defining what forgiveness is, it is necessary to understand what forgiveness is not. Experts who study or teach forgiveness make it clear that when you forgive, you do not gloss over or deny the seriousness of an offense against you. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean condoning or excusing offenses. Though forgiveness can help repair a damaged relationship, it doesn’t obligate you to reconcile with the person who harmed you or release them from legal accountability.

Instead, forgiveness brings the forgiver peace of mind and frees him or her from corrosive anger. While there is some debate over whether true forgiveness requires positive feelings toward the offender, experts agree that it at least involves letting go of deeply held negative feelings. In that way, it empowers you to recognize the pain you suffered without letting that pain define you, enabling you to heal and move on with your life.

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To let go

Forgiveness is the act of pardoning an offender. In the Bible, the Greek word translated “forgiveness” literally means “to let go,” as when a person does not demand payment for a debt. Jesus used this comparison when he taught his followers to pray: “Forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is in debt to us.” (Luke 11:4) Likewise, in his parable of the unmerciful slave, Jesus equated forgiveness with cancelling a debt. Matthew 18:23-35.

What are the benefits of forgiveness?
My policy in life is if I am wrong I will admit it and I will apologise and move on. It is then up to you whether you choose to accept my apology or not, but the burden if off my shoulders. That process relieves us of any stress and frustrations or tensions which then affect our relationships. However, everyone is different, but we should all learn to let go.
Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for improved health and peace of mind. Forgiveness can lead to:
• Healthier relationships
• Improved mental health
• Less anxiety, stress and hostility
• Lower blood pressure
• Fewer symptoms of depression
• A stronger immune system
• Improved heart health
• Improved self-esteem

How do I reach a state of forgiveness?
Forgiveness is a commitment to a personalised process of change. To move from suffering to forgiveness, you might:
• Recognise the value of forgiveness and how it can improve your life
• Identify what needs healing and who needs to be forgiven and for what
• Consider joining a support group or seeing a counsellor
• Acknowledge your emotions about the harm done to you and how they affect your behaviour, and work to release them
• Choose to forgive the person who has offended you
• Move away from your role as victim and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in your life

As you let go of grudges, you’ll no longer define your life by how you have been hurt. You might even find compassion and understanding towards those who hurt you.

Hope you find it in your heart to forgive those who have wronged you and that you will seek for forgiveness from those you have wronged. Hope you will find peace as you learn to forgive, forget, let go and move on.


This article was originally published @  
Tshidz Pongo is a life coach, Educator, entrepreneur and writer.

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