Why Forgiveness is Important for Your Anger
You might be wondering why I would suggest that forgiveness is an essential part of dealing with out of control anger.
As a Denver counselor I often talk with people about why forgiveness is such an important part of good mental health and wellness.
The opposite of forgiveness is often resentment and bitterness. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how forgiveness is an important part of dealing with resentment.
Forgiveness often gets misunderstood. It’s important to consider what it really means to forgive, and how it can impact your anger.
What is Forgiveness?
Forgiveness means letting go of something you feel someone owes you. If someone has done something that hurt you, perhaps you feel they owe you an apology.
Choosing to forgive someone means that you’re no longer expecting that apology. It means letting go of your bitterness or anger towards them.
The most important thing to realize is that forgiveness is about you, it’s not really about the other person. Forgiving someone doesn’t require them to do anything.
Forgiving People is a Choice
Here’s what forgiveness expert Fred Luskin of Stanford University has to say about the choice to forgive people.
Why is Forgiveness Important?
Forgiveness is essential for your own health and happiness.
If you have relationships with other people you’re going to be hurt. At some point your expectations of other people won’t be met.
When these expectations aren’t met you’ll have a choice. You can choose to forgive or to hold on to bitterness, anger, and resentment.
One of the reasons forgiveness can be difficult is that you believe the other person has to change. I’ve heard people say they can’t forgive someone because the person hasn’t apologized.
Forgiveness can happen even if the other person never apologizes to you. In fact the other person may not even know you’ve forgiven them.
Forgiving someone is about letting go of the anger and pain that’s hurting you.
Forgiving Does Not Mean Forgetting
Have you heard the saying “forgive and forget?” It’s a nice idea, but it’s not realistic.
People often object to forgiving someone because they don’t want to be hurt again. In reality you’re not going to forgive someone and suddenly forget how they hurt you.
Forgiveness does not mean you should become a doormat and let people do what they want to you. It means letting go of your own pain and learning from your mistake.
If someone continually causes you emotional pain, you may need to create some distance in your relationship. Forgiving them doesn’t mean allowing them to continue hurting you.
Forgiveness is Good for Your Health
Letting go of your own emotional pain is the goal of forgiveness.
The ability to let things go and move forward in life will bring you more happiness. Studies have found that people who have resentment and anger suffer with more health problems.
Over the years that I’ve provided anger management counseling in Denver I’ve seen forgiveness change people’s emotional wellbeing.
If you’re struggling with the emotional pain of anger and resentment, and you want to improve your physical health you need to consider how forgiveness can impact your life.