Forgiveness is an attitude, while most people see it as a transaction. According to research on marriage, one of the top five qualities that sustains a happy marriage is forgiveness. Knowing that every individual is different, it is impossible to spend years of married life with someone without having this quality.
When we are angry because of being hurt or disappointed, we are in a fight-or-flight state, which can affect our heart rate, blood pressure etc. and subsequently make us vulnerable to heart diseases and depression. Forgiveness is linked to reduced symptoms of anxiety, depression, a greater life satisfaction and improved personal relationships. If we consciously choose to let go of the resentment, we can reduce our own stress response and improve our physical and emotional well-being.
Forgiveness is an active process of easing feelings of resentment, bitterness, grudge-holding, especially regarding an individual’s thoughts and motivations. It allows you to seek the peace and understanding that come from blaming less after you have been offended and taking those offenses less personally.
One way to increase your attitude of forgiveness, is by developing empathy. Empathy is the ability to take another person’s perspective to recognize and understand their struggles, triumphs and situation. This may elucidate some similarities between their experiences and your own and provide an opportunity to recognize shared suffering as part of human experience. Another way of developing an attitude of forgiveness is practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness practices helps individuals to accept what happened and look at the situation from multiple perspectives without judgement. Mindfulness also helps in reducing rumination, which is a key barrier in forgiveness. Also, instead of focusing on your wounded feelings, learn to look for love, beauty, and kindness around you. Putting more energy into appreciating what you have rather than attending to what you do not have will help in developing this capacity.
It might be important to remember that forgiveness is a state of acceptance, in which you notice, experience, understand, and accept events as part of human experience and remember that it is for no one else but you, its your commitment to feel better.