More often than not clients wanting to improve their relationship skills at some point had to realize the importance of personal and interpersonal forgiveness to their well-being and overall happiness. The truth is that all of us have transgressed or acted in a way that brought about a negative impact on our self or someone else. So from this perspective, none of us is without the need for forgiveness, and each of us will encounter the opportunity to grant forgiveness. With that in mind, here are some important benefits associated with practicing forgiveness.
1. Good physical health. If you aren’t aware, there are numerous studies on the positive impact forgiveness has on your physical health. Some of these include lower blood pressure, a healthy heart rate, and a stronger immune system.
2. Avoid negative, nonproductive thought cycle. Unforgiveness often triggers a ruthless cycle of negative thoughts and anger. Forgiveness keeps your ability to experience other emotions commonly associated with being offended and hurt unblocked.
3. Great energy and awareness. It takes a lot of energy away from you to hold a grudge, and having to be vigilant of someone else’s behavior diminishes your ability to be alert and aware.
4. Protect your freedom and ability to trust. Unforgiveness makes you the victim and keeps you a victim of a wrong. Forgiving keeps you free and able to trust. This is essential for relating well. See number five below.
5. Avoid excess baggage in your relationships. If you’ve ever dated someone with unresolved issues from a previous relationship you know the problems encountered in trying to build a relationship with people like this. It’s tough! Relating well means taking care of issues as they arise. Unforgiveness prevents you from accomplishing this important work.
6. Encourages your growth and development. The amazing outcome of forgiveness is the impact it can have on your personal growth as a person. It takes work to successfully resolve a situation. It stretches you as you are tested in your core beliefs and attitudes.
Studies with victims of crimes have shown that focusing on the benefits of forgiving for themselves helped them to actually forgive their offenders. So, consider the benefits of forgiving to your health and wellbeing now and in the future—and make an effort to work through issues that you have not forgiven!