The Benefits of Forgiveness


In my blog post about Transcendent Happiness I talked about sources of lasting fulfillment. The sources are things like love, beauty, goodness, meaning and purpose. Happiness and fulfillment are byproducts of purpose and these “transcendentals”. They come from putting others first and putting yourself in other shoes. They come from actions that also benefit health and well-being, like empathy and altruism. Happiness and fulfillment also come from acts of forgiveness.

Forgiveness is another act of the will that has many benefits. But it is also one of the most difficult actions to achieve. Because when somebody wrongs us, it hurts. When a loved one lies to us or someone steals from us, the urge to get back at them is powerful.

But we are rational beings. We can put ourselves in other people’s shoes and try to understand why they made the choices they did. We can use our logical brains to overcome strong emotions, employee empathy, and forgive.

And forgiveness should be bestowed on ourselves as well as others. Particularly when we are trying to overcome chronic fearful thoughts and actions. Why? In addition to the philosophical reasons, forgiveness is good for our health!

Forgiveness and Health

According to the Mayo Clinic 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

So take some time today to think about the people in your life and your relationships. Are you holding any grudges? What is that anger doing to your health and your relationships? Perhaps forgiveness is a better option. It can lead to greater health and well-being for both you and the other person.

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