Benefits of Forgiveness (A Guide + PDF Resources)

In this article, we will look at the benefits of forgiveness. This article also looks at the health benefits of forgiveness, the consequences of holding grudges and ways to let go of resentment.

Benefits of Forgiveness

  • Improved interpersonal relationships
  • Better mental health
  • Reduced anxiety, stress, and anger issues
  • Lower blood pressure 
  • Fewer depressive symptoms
  • Better heart health 
  • Better self-esteem 
  • Strengthened immune system

Enhanced Sense of Well-being

A sense of well-being is critical to living a fulfilling life. When you forgive others, you feel a weight lifted off your shoulders, which leads to more pleasant feelings, which leads to an improved sense of well-being. As a result, forgiving can improve one’s mental and physical health.

Self-acceptance

The benefits of forgiveness can include a greater feeling of self-acceptance. You have a positive attitude about yourself and are satisfied with your past life. Self-acceptance through self-reflection also aids in the recognition and correction of mistakes.

Ability To Deal With Challenges

Forgiveness can have such positive effects that a person’s qualities and abilities are enhanced, allowing them to deal more effectively with life’s adversities. Practising forgiveness helps you improve the ability to realistically assess tough interpersonal situations and implement good coping techniques.

Assuming responsibility for addressing problems, obtaining correct information about problems, establishing action plans to tackle difficulties, and having a positive outlook on one’s ability to overcome difficulties are all part of this process.

Benefits of Forgiveness According To Positive Psychology

According to research in positive psychology, the following benefits of forgiveness have been proven to have an effect on overall wellness:

  • Anxiety is reduced 
  • Spirituality is enhanced 
  • Self-esteem is improved 
  • Relationships are healed 
  • Greater feelings of optimism 
  • Restoration of optimistic thinking
  • Depressive symptoms are reduced
  • Better capacity for managing conflict 
  • Higher ability to cope with stress and find relief

Health Benefits of Forgiveness

Here are a few health benefits of forgiveness according to research:

  • Fewer episodes of depression
  • Higher self-esteem
  • More friends
  • Healthier relationships
  • Longer marriages
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Less anxiety, stress and hostility 
  • Closer relationships
  • Fewer stress-related health issues
  • Better immune system function
  • Lower rates of heart disease
  • Lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse
  • Greater spiritual and psychological well-being

Why is it so easy to harbour resentment?

Being betrayed by somebody you love deeply can lead to feelings of rage and despair. Grudges of hatred, revenge, and animosity can grow if you linger on painful events and situations. If you permit your resentment or sense of justice to overpower your positive thoughts, you may find yourself being eaten up by them.

Certain people are far more forgiving by nature than others. Even though you carry a grudge, nearly everybody can improve their forgiving ability.

What are the consequences of harbouring resentment?

If you’re an unforgiving person, you may:

  • Carry resentment and anger into every new connection and encounter.
  • Feel depressed or nervous frequently.
  • Become so engrossed in the wrong that you miss out on the now.
  • You’ll miss out on meaningful and fulfilling connections with others.
  • Feel as if your existence has no purpose or meaning, or that you are conflicted about your spirituality

What can you do if you find yourself unable to forgive someone?

Forgiveness can be difficult, especially when the person who has wronged you refuses to accept their mistake. If you get stuck, try the following:

  • Empathy must be cultivated. Consider the problem from the perspective of the other person.
  • Consider why he or she might act in this manner. If you were in the same position, you might have reacted the same way.
  • Recall instances when you have wronged others and those who have forgiven you.
  • Start writing in a journal, pray, or practise guided meditation — or speak with someone you’ve found to be insightful and caring, such as a mental health professional, or a trusted loved one or companion.
  • Be mindful that forgiveness is a journey, and even little transgressions may require revisiting and forgiveness on multiple occasions.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Does forgiveness always lead to reconciliation?

Forgiveness can result in reconciliation if the traumatic occurrence affected someone with whom you typically value your relationship. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily the case.

If the offender has passed away or refuses to interact with you, reconciliation may be impossible. In some circumstances, reconciliation isn’t the best option. Even so, forgiveness is a possibility.

What if the person I’m forgiving remains the same?

The aim of forgiveness isn’t to get someone to adjust their actions, behaviour, or words. Consider how forgiveness can transform your life by providing you peace, joy, and spiritual and emotional healing. Forgiveness has the capacity to remove the other person’s power over your life.

What is forgiveness, exactly?

To various people, forgiveness means different things. In most cases, though, it entails a choice to let go of bitterness and vengeful thoughts.

Although the act that injured or offended you may remain with you forever, forgiveness can help you break free from the hold of the person who wronged you.

Forgiveness can also result in feelings of compassion, empathy, and understanding for the person who has wronged you.

Forgiveness does not imply dismissing or excusing the hurt you have suffered, nor does it imply making amends with the person who caused it. Forgiveness provides a sense of calm that allows you to move on with your life.

Antecedents of Forgiveness

Parental influence

Many factors, particularly early childhood experiences, can impact the formation of forgiveness traits. Participants described how their parents had shown forgiveness in various situations and urged their children to do the same. The participants reported that the encouragement they got from their parents made them feel inspired to forgive according to the study

Childhood experiences

The majority of the participants saw their childhood experiences as a crucial role in instilling forgiveness in them. They faced challenging situations in which forgiveness was necessary.

According to the participants, their difficult childhood experiences helped them to overcome obstacles that are barriers to forgiveness. Difficulties and suffering can make people more resilient, giving them more courage and strength to cope with similar events in a more constructive and positive manner.

Quotes on Forgiveness

“Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.”

― Oscar Wilde 

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

“Any fool knows men and women think differently at times, but the biggest difference is this. Men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget.”

― Robert Jordan 

“I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.”

― Khaled Hosseini

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”

― Mark Twain 

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”

― Nelson Mandela 

Further Reading on Benefits of Forgiveness (PDF Resources)

6 Recommended Books on Forgiveness

  1. Forgiveness and Reconciliation: Theory and Application by Everett Worthington (Amazon)
  2. Handbook of the Psychology of Self-Forgiveness by Lydia Woodyatt, Everett Worthington, Michael Wenzel, and Brandon J. Griffin (Amazon)
  3. The Forgiving Life by Robert Enright (Amazon)
  4. Healing Anger: The Power of Patience from a Buddhist Perspective by The Dalai Lama and Thupten Jinpa (Amazon)
  5. Beyond Revenge: The Evolution of the Forgiveness Instinct by Michael E. McCullough, Ph.D., (Amazon)
  6. The Book of Ho’oponopono: The Hawaiian Practice of Forgiveness and Healing (Amazon)

Conclusion

In this article, we looked at the benefits of forgiveness. This article also looked at the health benefits of forgiveness, the consequences of holding grudges and ways to let go of resentment.

Frequently Asked Questions: Benefits of Forgiveness PDF

What are the benefits of forgiveness?

Here are a few benefits of forgiveness:

  • Anxiety is reduced 
  • Spirituality is enhanced 
  • Self-esteem is improved 
  • Relationships are healed 
  • Greater feelings of optimism 
  • Restoration of optimistic thinking
  • Depressive symptoms are reduced
  • Better capacity for managing conflict 
  • Higher ability to cope with stress and find relief

What does lack of forgiveness do?

Unforgiveness, or failing to forgive, is the practise of pensive thoughts of rage, revenge, hate, and resentment that have negative consequences for the ruminator, such as heightened anxiety, depressive symptoms, higher blood pressure, vascular resistance, reduced immune response, and much worse outcomes.

What is the power of forgiveness?

Forgiveness entails letting go of the pain of the past and committing to a future with far higher opportunity for inner liberation. There are tremendous beneficial effects that go hand-in-hand with the practise of forgiveness, aside from the joy of letting go of a traumatic past.

What is true forgiveness?

Forgiveness is defined by psychologists as a conscious, deliberate decision to let go of sentiments of hatred or retribution toward a person or persons whom have wronged you, irrespective of whether or not they deserve forgiveness. Forgiveness does not imply forgetting or accepting or condoning wrongdoing.

Why is forgiveness so hard?

Forgiveness is tough in part because nature has provided us the psychological drive to resist being used by others, and one of the simplest ways of preventing exploitation is to retaliate or totally dismiss the exploiter.

Why should you forgive someone who hurt you?

Forgiving a loved one who has wronged you can help you heal your relationship. In many circumstances, forgiveness can assist someone who has unknowingly caused you distress in realising how they have harmed you. This presents a chance for learning and development.

References

What is Forgiveness and What Are the Benefits?

Forgiveness: Letting go of grudges and bitterness

Mental health through forgiveness: Exploring the roots and benefits

Was this post helpful?

[Sassy_Social_Share type="standard"]