The Therapeutic Power of Forgiveness

Throughout the course of our lives, we form relationships. These can not only enrich our lives but they can shape our world view and define us. We no longer become just an individual, we’re also seen through the prism of being someone’s partner, someone’s spouse, their parent, their sibling, their son or their daughter. As hard as we try to do right be the people in our lives, sometimes we do them wrong. Sometimes they do us wrong. Sometimes they do terrible things to us that make us so suffused with anger and resentment that we want to cut them out of our lives completely. While there’s certainly an argument for cutting people who are relentlessly toxic from your life, it can be difficult to fill the gap that a person leaves when they’re gone.
Image via Alexas_Fotos

Into this void we can pour bitterness, scorn and a whole host of other feelings that we’re better off without. Even if we recognize that we can’t be healthy and happy with these people in our lives, be they friends, family or loved ones, we owe it to ourselves to forgive them. Here’s why…

Carrying Bad Feelings Around can Stunt us Emotionally

Some people are not only slow to forgive, they’re actually averse to forgiveness. They see forgiveness as something that will make them seem weak willed or a doormat, but nothing could be further from the truth. Forgiveness requires great strength and self assertion. It’s the act of choosing to move on and improve your life, whether we chose to keep the person who wronged us around or not. Many successful people have been able to reach the heights they have attained by forgiving others and moving on. If you’re unable to do this on your own or through forgiveness therapy, you could end up carrying bad feelings into your next relationship. It can leave you emotionally stunted and unable to invest emotionally in the relationship.

Good People do Bad Things

When someone has wronged us, our natural response is highly emotional. We’re likely to feel sorrowful or angry and it takes real fortitude to look beyond these emotional responses and look at the causes of the wrongful behavior. Good people do bad things for a variety of reasons as a result of personal trauma, alcohol or substance dependency, through lack of consideration, laziness or sheer emotional illiteracy. This does not mean that they deserve to be cut out of your life completely. Sometimes helping someone to the Caron Treatment Center, to counseling or to a self help group is a far more reparative step than turning your back on them. It takes a lot to go out of your way to help someone who has wronged you but it may be the most decisive step you take in facilitating your happiness and theirs.

Not Forgiving Can Lead us Down a Dark Path

Failure to forgive others can lead us to shy away from confronting our emotions and this can lead to some erratic behaviors. We may find solace in alcohol, illicit substances, risky sexual behavior or any number of inadequate forms of self medication. This is why you owe it to yourself, if no one else, to trust in the therapeutic power of forgiveness.


No comments

Back to Top